What you need to know about bone disease

What you need to know about bone disease

Some conditions or diseases may affect the strength and flexibility of bones and cause health complications.

The main components of bone are collagen and calcium. The skeleton is a rigid framework made up of bones that protects the soft organs while supporting the body.

The body has two different types of bones. The outer layer of bones is made up of dense, compact cortical bones. The inner layer of the bones is made up of trabecular bones or cancellous bone. These are soft and have a honeycomb-like structure. The bones provide protection for the organs, allow the body’s movement and support. Bones also act as a storage for minerals like calcium.

It is possible for a person to have a condition that affects bone strength and flexibility. These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics and environmental factors.

This article will discuss some bone diseases and their potential symptoms.


Osteoporosis causes a decline in the mineral density and bone mass. It is possible that the quality and structure may change. Osteoporosis may decrease bone strength, increasing the risk of fracture. All ethnicities are affected by osteoporosis. Most commonly, it affects non Hispanic white women and Asian women.


Osteopenia occurs when the bone mineral density falls below the average but is not so low that a doctor would classify it as osteoporosis.

A T-score measures bone density. A T-score of -1 to -2.5 is considered osteopenia. A T-score below -2.5 would be classified as osteoporosis by a doctor. Females are four times more likely to suffer from osteopenia than males.

Paget’s disease

Paget’s Disease is a condition which affects the process of bone remodeling. The body replaces old bone tissue with new tissue by destroying the old tissue.

This chronic condition causes the bone to grow faster and in an abnormal way. The bones can become softer, or even more substantial. This makes them more vulnerable to fractures and other complications.

Osteogenesis imperfecta

Osteogenesis imperfecta is a disorder which causes bones to break easily. OI is also known as brittle bones disease by some people. This condition is caused by a mutation or gene change that contains information on how to make a type I collagen protein. This protein is essential for strong bones.

A family history of OI increases the risk of developing the disease. This is because a person may inherit the gene mutation from one or both parents. OI comes in different forms. Type I is the mildest and most common type, whereas type II is more severe.


Osteonecrosis (also known as avascular or aseptic necrosis) occurs when the blood flow to a bone is disrupted, resulting in bone tissue death. Source. Source. Osteonecrosis can affect any bone, but it is most common in the knees, shoulders, and hips. Most often, the condition affects people between 20-50 years old. They may also have a history trauma, corticosteroid usage, or excessive drinking.


Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is a condition that affects joints. The condition is caused by the degradation of cartilage, which covers the surface of the joints. Osteoarthritis may also alter the shape of the bones. Osteoarthritis is most common in the hands, knees and hips.


Osteomyelitis is an inflammation or infection of the bones, while myelitis refers to the inflammation of the fat tissues in the bone. This occurs when an infection, either bacterial or fungus, enters the bone through the bloodstream. This can occur at any age, but it is most common in children.

Fibrous dysplasia

Fibrous Dysplasia is a condition in which fibrous tissue abnormally replaces healthy bones. The bone becomes weaker due to the unusual tissue that looks like a scar. The bone can change shape, increasing the risk of fractures.

Fibrous Dysplasia is usually caused by a gene mutation, which causes bone cells to produce an abnormal type fibrous bone. It can affect any bone but is most common in the thigh, shin, ribs and pelvis.

Bone Cancer and Tumours

Bone cancer, a rare type of cancer, begins when the cells of a bone begin to grow uncontrollably. Cancer can occur in any of the bone cells.

Primary bone cancers begin in the bones. Osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, and osteosarcoma are the most common types of primary cancers. Cancer cells can also spread from other parts of the body to the bones. These are called bone metastases by doctors. Spine is the most common location for bone metastases.


Osteomalacia is also called bone softening. It occurs when the bone doesn’t harden as it should. This metabolic bone disorder occurs when the mineralization of bone is incomplete. Mineralization is the process by which minerals cover the inner layer of bone to form a hard outer skin. This incomplete shell formation leaves the collagen vulnerable and soft.


The condition known as rickets occurs in children due to an imperfect mineralization.

This is usually due to a deficiency in vitamin D. The body can’t metabolize calcium or phosphorous without enough vitamin D. These are essential nutrients for bone growth and development. A vitamin D deficiency can be caused by inadequate nutrition, excessive sun exposure or malabsorption.

Autoimmune conditions

When the immune system attacks cells, tissues, or organs, it is called an autoimmune disease. Some autoimmune diseases can cause bone diseases that increase the risk of complications, such as fractures and bone loss. These conditions include:

Type I diabetes: This condition is characterized by the production of minimal insulin or none at all. The body can’t absorb sugar easily from food. Type I diabetics are at a greater risk of osteoporosis.

SLE: This condition may cause widespread inflammation in many parts of the body. SLE patients may be at higher risk for bone loss or fractures if they choose certain treatment options.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): In this condition, the immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. This causes cartilage degradation. People with RA are at an increased risk for bone loss and broken bones.

Celiac Disease: The body develops an intolerance for gluten, which is a protein found in many foods such as wheat and rye. The immune system damages and attacks the lining of small intestine. Untreated celiac patients may develop bone diseases due to the difficulty in absorbing calcium. Calcium is essential for healthy bones.


The symptoms of bone disease can vary, depending on the condition. Some may not present any symptoms. Osteoporosis, for example, is a silent disease. It usually does not present symptoms until the bone breaks.

General symptoms may include:

bone pain A person can also experience symptoms that are specific to a particular type of bone disease. Source redness, swelling and warmth may be experienced by someone with osteomyelitis at the injection site. Other symptoms of bone cancer include weight loss, fatigue or a lump around the tumour.

Causes of risk and factors

Bone disease can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these factors may be specific to one type of bone disorder. Some of the causes include:

Genetics: An individual may be at a greater risk of developing bone disease if they have a family history of the disease or a mutation in a gene. A person can inherit a mutation in a gene from either one or both of their parents.

Aging: Bones become less dense and fragile as people age.

For healthy and strong bones, a balanced diet is crucial. People need to ensure they consume enough calcium and vitamin D.

Bone remodelling problems: After the age of 20, an individual may experience a problem whereby the body is unable to replace old bone tissue. This can lead to a decrease in bone quality and strength.

Hormonal imbalances: Certain hormones can increase the risk for osteoporosis. Low estrogen levels or testosterone levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Medication: Some medications may increase the risk for bone disease. Corticosteroids and thyroid medications, as well as drugs that lower levels of sex-hormones, can all harm bone health.

Factors affecting lifestyle: Factors affecting lifestyle, such as low levels of physical activity, smoking and exce.

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