Questions and Answers

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How did osteoporosis get it's name?
"osteo" refers to bone, and "porous" means full of holes. So "osteoporosis" is bone that is full of holes. The term has been used for about 150 years.

I am doing an experiment on bones. I am soaking them in solutions, the one that got the softest is in vinegar. I read that the calcium has been taken out of the bone and that the acid represents disease. I was wondering what diseases would cause this condition??
The disease that is the most directly related to soaking bones in vinegar is called "renal tubular acidosis". In this disease, the kidneys are not able to get rid of the acid (we all get some acid in the foods we eat). So, to keep the system from accumulating too much acid, some ocid goes to the bone and dissolves the mineral out of the bone. The calcium from the bones will neutralize the acid. But the patients are left with weaker bones.
The osteoclasts are the cells that dissolve the bones. You can read more about them in the section called "all about bones". These cells work by attaching to the bone and then squirting acid into the bone. So any disease that causes increased activity of the osteoclasts also results in some weakness of the bones that involves acid. Examples include osteoporosis and multiple myeloma.

What sports and excercises are good for a thin, very active 10 year old boy?
We know that exercise in general is good for 10-year-olds. The specific kinds of exercise that are good for the bones are not completely worked out yet. Jumping kinds of activities are good, walking and running are also good for the hips. Bike riding and swimming are great for the heart but not so effective for the bones. Kids who are very active are probably getting good exercise naturally. I

I was wondering how young of an age could you see osteoporosis occuring in someone?
It is possible to have osteoporosis even as a baby.

What is osteoporosis? Please give an undertandable explanation.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease which is very common in elderly men and women. The long bones in the arms and legs become thinner, and the spongy bones in the spine and near the joints become more porous (get holes). This makes the bone density lower, the bones are weaker and more likely to get broken.

What are the different symtoms of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis does not have symptoms until there are fractures (broken bones). These are painful, and fractures of the spine can cause people to get shorter.

What is the youngest and oldest patients who have Osteoporosis?
The most common type of osteoporosis happens in women older than 65, but some forms of osteoporosis can be seen in babies. There are no age limits.

What are the Newest treatments Available [for osteoorosis]?
The newest treatments (not necessarily the best) are risedronate (Actonel) and raloxifene (Evista). PTH (parathyroid) is an experimental medicine that is most likely to be the next newly available treatment. Updated 9/16/01