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12-07-2016 | Osteoporosis | Book Chapter | Article

8. Genetics of Osteoporosis in Older Age

Authors: PhD David Karasik, MD, MPH Douglas P. Kiel

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


Generalized osteoporosis is the most common form of the disease, affecting the majority of the bones in a skeleton. Osteoporosis results from a failure to acquire optimal peak bone mass during growth and/or failure to maintain bone homeostasis in later years. The prevalence and severity of osteoporosis is especially high in older persons (so called involutional osteoporosis), in both men and women [4, 18]. Women additionally experience a rapid phase of bone loss after the menopause, as a result of estrogen withdrawal [36, 45]. With aging, the skeleton is susceptible to osteoporotic fractures, which seem to be dependent on genetic factors (heritable). The genetic contribution to involutional osteoporosis is substantial and its heritability has been extensively studied. With recent advances in the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in osteoporosis, there is recognition that there are genetic contributions to fractures and related bone traits, in particular in elderly persons, which may or may not be shared with genetic mechanisms of bone maintenance in younger individuals.

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