Osteoporosis: Glossary of Terms
Association of Women for the Advancement of Research and Education Today is
ProjectAWARE logo

    You are here:  Home > Health Issues > Osteoporosis Glossary Tell a Friend about Us


  Menopause Experience
The 35 Symptoms
Premature Menopause
Personal Stories
  Managing Menopause
  The Options
Alternatives to HRT
  Health Issues
  Breast Cancer
Heart Health
  Article Archives
Books & Newsletters
Finding a Doctor
Glossary of Terms
Health Links
News Stories
Studies & Trials
  Docs Corner
  Hormone Health
Wellness & You
Q & A
  Who We Are
  Advertising Statement
Privacy & Confidentiality
Link to Us
Support AWARE
Contact Us



Glossary of terms related to Osteoporosis

researched and written by the ProjectAWARE group, 2001

Anabolic - Synthesis, opposite of catabolic. Relating to, characterised by or promoting anabolism.

Anorexia nervosa - An eating disorder characterised a misperception of body image. Individuals with anorexia nervosa often believe they are overweight even when they are grossly underweight.

Antioxidant - Synthetic or natural substances added to products to prevent or delay their deterioriation by action of oxygen in air. In biochemistry and medicine, antioxidants are enzymes or other organic substances, such as vitamin E or beta-carotene, that are capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissue.

Antiresorptive - Something that works against bone loss due to osteoclastic activity.

Aromatized - Converted from hormones in the body. Women with more body fat usually have more estrogen than thinner women, because estrogen is aromatized, or converted, from other hormones such as DHEA in fatty tissue.

Autocrine - Secretion of a substance, such as a growth factor, that stimulates the secretory cell itself. One route to independence of growth control is by autocrine growth factor production.

Bisphosphonates - A class of nonhormonal medications for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in women. These drugs build healthy bone, restoring some of the bone loss as a result of osteoporosis.

Bone remodeling - The continuous turnover of bone matrix and mineral that involves first, an increase in resorption (osteoclastic activity) and later, reactive bone formation (osteoblastic activity). The process of bone remodeling takes place in the adult skeleton at discrete foci. The process ensures the mechanical integrity of the skeleton throughout life and plays an important role in calcium homeostasis. An imbalance in the regulation of bone remodeling's two contrasting events, bone resorption and bone formation, results in many of the metabolic bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.

Calcaneus - The largest of the tarsal bones, situated at the lower and back part of the foot forming the heel.

Celiac disease - An inherited disease where the intestinal lining is inflamed in response to the ingestion of a protein known as gluten. Gluten is present in many grains including rye, oats, barley and triticale.

Climacteric - The period of life when fertility and sexual activity are in decline. A supposed critical period in life.

Cortical bone - Having to do with the cortex, the outer portion. Bone cells that form the outer layer of bone.

Cytokines - Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialised glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner.

Discrete foci - Separate or distinct origins or centers of disseminated diseases.

Eburnation - A condition of bone cartilage occurring in certain diseases of these tissues, in which they acquire an unnatural density, and come to resemble ivory.

Endogenous - Developing or originating within an organism or arising from causes within an organism.

Endometrial hypertrophy - Enlargement of the lining of the uterus.

Endometrium - The tissue lining the uterus. It is sloughed off during the woman's menstrual period, and afterward grows back, slowly getting thicker and thicker until the next period.

Glucocorticoid - Corticosteroid substances (drugs or hormones) that are involved in carbohydrate metabolism by promoting gluconeogenesis and the formation of glycogen at the expense of lipid and protein synthesis. They are steroid based and possess anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. Glucocorticoids are also produced normally by the adrenal cortex and provide for the response to stress.

Hashimoto's thyroid disease - Inflammation of the thyroid gland without the formation of pus. Noninfectious, nonbacterial, thyroid inflammation.

Homoeostasis - A tendency to stability in the normal body states (internal environment) of the organism. It is achieved by a system of control mechanisms activated by negative feedback, for example a high level of carbon dioxide in extracellular fluid triggers increased pulmonary ventilation, which in turn causes a decrease in carbon dioxide concentration.

Hypercalciuria - The excretion of abnormally large amounts of calcium in the urine, seen in cases of hyperparathyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism - Excessive functional activity of the thyroid gland. The abnormal condition resulting from an overactive thyroid gland; marked by increased metabolic rate, enlargement of the thyroid gland, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and various secondary symptoms.

Hypogonadism - A condition resulting from or characterised by abnormally decreased functional activity of the gonads (the gamete-producing glands, ovary or testis), with retardation of growth and sexual development.

Insulin - Secreted by the cells of the pancreas in response to high blood sugar levels, it induces hypoglycemia. Defective secretion of insulin is the cause of diabetes mellitus.

Ionization - Any process by which a neutral atom gains or loses electrons, thus acquiring a net charge. High temperatures, electrical discharges or nuclear radiations can cause ionisation.

Lamellar - Pertaining to a thin layer of membrane, scale, or platelike tissue, or part, especially in bone.

Lipid - Any of a heterogeneous group of fats and fatlike substances characterised by being water insoluble. The lipids, which are easily stored in the body, serve as a source of fuel, are an important constituent of cell structure and serve other biological functions. Lipids may be considered to include fatty acids, neutral fats, waxes and steroids. Compound lipids comprise the glycolipids, lipoproteins and phospholipids.

Menarche - The establishment or beginning of the menstrual function.

Microgravity - Very weak gravity, as in the weightlessness occurring in orbiting spacecraft

Myoblast - Cell that by fusion with other myoblasts gives rise to myotubes that eventually develop into skeletal muscle fibres. The term is sometimes used for all the cells recognizable as immediate precursors of skeletal muscle fibres. Alternatively, the term is reserved for those post-mitotic cells capable of fusion, others being referred to as presumptive myoblasts.

Meoplasm - New and abnormal growth of tissue, which may be benign or cancerous.

Odontoclast - Also called cementoclast, is cytomorphologically the same as an osteoclast and is involved in cementum resorption.

Osteitis - Inflammation of bone.

Osteoblasts - Cells that arise from fibroblasts and which, as they mature, are associated with the production of bone.

Osteoclasts - Cells associated with the absorption and removal of bone.

Osteoid - Uncalcified bone matrix, the product of osteoblasts. Consists mainly of collagen, but has osteonectin present.

Osteomalacia - A condition marked by softening of the bones (due to impaired mineralisation, with excess accumulation of osteoid) with pain, tenderness, muscular weakness, anorexia and loss of weight, resulting from deficiency of vitamin D and calcium.

Osteosclerosis - The hardening or abnormal density of bone, as in eburnation and condensing osteitis.

Paracrine - Form of signalling in which the target cell is close to the signal releasing cell. Neurotransmitters and neurohormones are usually considered to fall into this category.

Pathogenesis - The origin and development of disease.

Pathogenic - Capable of causing disease.

Perimenopause - The physiological period preceding the climacteric, during which occurs the regression of ovarian function, up to the menopause, the permanent cessation of the menstrual life. Since in the United States the age of the menopause ranges between 48 and 55 years, perimenopause refers in general to middle-aged women. Also referred to as premenopause.

Progesterone: Endogenous hormone produced in the corpus luteum of the female ovaries to prepare the endometrium for egg implantation and to maintain pregnancy. Serves to oppose (balance) estrogen, promotes proliferation of uterine mucosa and prevents further follicular development.

Progestin: Any of a group of hormone products that are manufactured from progesterone or testosterone and that have progesterone-like effects on the uterus. Often referred to as synthetic because the chemical structure differs from naturally occurring hormone molecules. Progestins are included in hormonal contraceptives including birth control pills and the new birth control skin patch, and are prescribed as part of HRT in menopausal women who still have their uteruses, but they are contraindicated in pregnancy. Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) and norethindrone acetate (NETA) are two common progestins.

Progestogen: An umbrella term applied to any substance possessing progestational activity. A steroid hormone (including progesterone) that induces changes in the endometrium after priming with estrogens. There can be substantial differences between progestogens, both in chemical structure and in pharmacological profile.

Resorption - Bone loss due to osteoclastic activity.

Serum - 1. The clear portion of any body fluid, the clear fluid moistening serous membranes. 2. Blood serum, the clear liquid that separates from blood on clotting. 3. Immune serum, blood serum from an immunised animal used for passive immunisation, an antiserum, antitoxin or antivenin.

Serum lipids - Lipids contained in and carried in the blood serum.

Stroma - The soluble, aqueous phase within the chloroplast, containing water soluble enzymes such as those of the Calvin Benson cycle. The site of the dark reaction of photosynthesis.

Stromal cells - A highly malignant neoplasm of the endometrium, arising from the endometrial stroma.

Trabecular bone - Adult bone consisting of mineralised, regularly ordered, parallel collagen fibres more loosely organised than the lamellar bone of the shaft of adult long bones. Found in the end of long bones, e.g. femur, tibia, humerus






NOTE: When you click on a word in blue, a definition of the term will open in a new window.


The Whole Story

Jump to any aspect, or read all the parts of this segment.
What is osteoporosis?
When does it start?
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis & Fracture
Diagnostic Tests
Improving & Maintaining Bone Health
Foods, Herbs & Supplements at a Glance






Copyright 1997-2010 ProjectAWARE. All rights reserved.

Questions or comments about this site? Contact the Website Editor, <aware.editor@project-aware.org>

Updated 05/16/2010