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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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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.