The pathophysiology of bone loss

Clin Geriatr Med. 2003 May;19(2):259-70, v-vi. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0690(02)00098-8.


Aging is associated with a decline in cancellous and cortical bone mass and with a deterioration of microarchitecture in both skeletal compartments. These changes are more marked in women than men and are exaggerated in patients with fracture. With the insight gained from histomorphometry, we are beginning to understand the cellular mechanisms that underlie these changes. We recognize that deterioration in microarchitecture contributes to fracture risk, independently of bone mass. Techniques to assess bone microarchitecture noninvasively in a clinical setting are currently under development; it is likely that advances in this area will improve our ability to identify and manage patients with osteoporosis in the not too distant future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology*