Osteoporosis can be classified in two ways – based on the type of osteoporosis that you have, and based on the severity of your disease.
Three types of osteoporosis have been identified.
Type 1 Primary Osteoporosis
Type 1 primary osteoporosis is also known as postmenopausal osteoporosis. It affects women following menopause and is caused by a sudden loss of the hormone estrogen. Women can lose more than 10% of their bone density during menopause, which makes women more likely to develop osteoporosis at a younger age compared to men.
Type 2 Primary Osteoporosis
Type 2 primary osteoporosis is also known as age-related osteoporosis. It affects both men and women over age 70 and is caused by a gradual loss of bone density over an extended period of time due to old age.
Secondary osteoporosis is caused by an underlying disease or use of a medication known to weaken your bones. This form of osteoporosis can impact men and women of all ages. It has been reported that up to 75% of men and 30-50% of women have a secondary cause to their osteoporosis.
The second way to classify osteoporosis is based on how severely your bones are impacted by the disease. A specialized x-ray of your hips, spine, or forearm using a DEXA bone density scanner can provide this useful information. More information about DEXA scans can be found on the osteoporosis screening page.
The medical community has created the following cut-offs for determining if your bone density is normal, mild to moderately low (osteopenia), or severely low (osteoporosis).
Once your bones have been properly classified based on the type and severity of the disease, you should discuss with your medical provider which treatment options are best for you.