What is the cause of type 1 osteoporosis?

Type 1 osteoporosis is caused by a lack of estrogen, the main female hormone. At menopause, the level of estrogen in a woman's body drops dramatically. This affects bone density because estrogen plays a vital role in the depositing of calcium in the bones. And it is mainly calcium (plus other minerals) that makes bone hard and dense. As a result, at menopause, there's a one-time increase in the speed at which old bone is dissolved for recycling (the resorption rate). In healthy women, the bone-dissolving and bone-rebuilding processes once again get in sync by the end of menopause.

During this period of accelerated bone loss, which lasts around 5 years, bone density decreases about 5%. This early postmenopausal bone loss is additional to the slow, long-term bone loss that affects both men and women after their mid-thirties. If osteoporosis is present, the extra amount of early postmenopausal bone loss is greater -- perhaps much greater -- than 5%.

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