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What Is Senile Osteoporosis?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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Senile osteoporosis is one of two main types of osteoporosis. This disease is characterized by the loss of the body’s ability to make vitamin D and the failure of the body to absorb calcium, which leads to the loss of both hard and spongy bone. Typically diagnosed through a bond density scan, the treatment for this form of osteoporosis is to supplement the body with vitamin D and calcium. The chances of developing this type of osteoporosis can be decreased by not smoking, restricting the use of alcohol, and by getting regular exercise.

There are two main types of osteoporosis; type I, known as postmenopausal osteoporosis, and type II, know as senile osteoporosis. In the case of senile osteoporosis, the word, “senile” refers to old age or a form osteoporosis that appears late in life, around 70 years of age. Type II osteoporosis involves the decay of both the hard bone, called the cortical bone, and the spongy, or trabecular, bone.

This condition is brought on by the decrease in vitamin D and calcium production and absorption by the body with age. Very late in life, typically after 70 years, the body’s kidneys fail to make vitamin D. The reduced concentration of vitamin D in the body restricts the amount of calcium that can be taken up. Low calcium levels cause the parathyroid hormone to signal the body to reabsorb bone to compensate for the calcium deficiency. The result is the gradual eroding of the hard and spongy bone, increasing the risks of bone fractures.

Type II osteoporosis is typically not observed until a patient fractures a bone. When a family history of senile osteoporosis is known, a doctor may order yearly bone density scans to track bone loss. Ultrasounds or quantitative computerized tomography scans can also identify depleted bone density.

The treatment for this geriatric syndrome is to increase vitamin D and calcium supplementation to offset the lack of these two components. Supplementation will modulate the release of the parathyroid hormone and save bone. Patients with senile osteoporosis are also advised to decrease the risk of falls by wearing flat, well-fitted shoes, using handrails on stairs, and clearing the house of fall-provoking clutter.

Senile osteoporosis is hereditary, making it is important for a young person who has a family history of type II osteoporosis to take actions to minimize her risks. This would include quitting smoking or never starting to smoke and limiting alcohol consumption. Regular exercise will also lower the risks of developing senile osteoporosis.

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Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Dec 15, 2014

My grandmother broker her leg last week after a fall. It wasn't a very serious fall but when there is osteoporosis, it becomes very easy to break things. The bones become very weak, and almost hollow and even small injuries can do lots of harm. That's why the elderly need help to make sure that they are not falling.

We are having special support bars for my grandmother's bathroom and stairs so that she can hold on to them for support.

By SteamLouis — On Dec 14, 2014

@bluedolphin-- I'm not a doctor but I think that calcium supplements can help prevent senile osteoporosis to a large degree. Of course, it's important to take them with vitamin D since the body needs vitamin D to absorb the calcium. Some osteoporosis may still occur but there are additional medications that doctors can prescribe to slow it down and delay it if it is advancing too quickly. My grandfather is on this type of medication. He also gets a bone density scan every year to keep track of his osteoporosis.

So it's not like once someone is diagnosed with this condition, they are doomed. There are things that can be done to help.

By bluedolphin — On Dec 14, 2014

Since senile osteoporosis occurs in old age, I think almost everyone is bound to get it. It just has to do with the organs wearing out and not working as well.

What I'm wondering is, if an elderly person takes calcium supplements regularly, can senile osteoporosis really be prevented? If the body isn't able to absorb the calcium, does it help to take supplements? Or is senile osteoporosis unpreventable to some degree?

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