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Glossary of terms

Bisphosphonates - A group of drugs, which help to slow the rate at which bone is broken down, e.g. risedronate, ibandronate, zoledronic acid and alendronate
Bone mineral density (BMD) - The mineral content in a given volume of bone, used as a measure of bone health and in the diagnosis of osteoporosis
Bone mineral density (BMD) tests (DXA/DEXA) - Painless and non-invasive tests to evaluate bone mineral density
Bone modelling - A process that takes place in childhood and adolescence in which bone shape and bone size is determined. During healthy growth, the amount of new bone being formed should be more than the amount of old bone being broken down
Bone remodelling - A process that occurs after peak bone mass is reached in early adulthood. Bone forming cells (osteoblasts) respond to the activity of the cells that breakdown bone (osteoclasts). When bone formation does not keep pace with bone breakdown, osteoporosis occurs
Calcium - A mineral that makes up a major part of your bones and helps keep them strong
Fracture - A break in a bone
Fragility fracture - A term used to describe a fracture that occurs with very little trauma or force, that is usually not great enough to cause broken bones. This indicates that the bone is weak. Also known as a low trauma fracture or an osteoporotic fracture
Osteoporosis - A disease in which the bones become thin and weak, putting patients at risk of breaking a bone. Osteoporosis usually causes no symptoms until a fracture happens
Osteoblasts - Cells that build new bone
Osteoclasts - Cells that breakdown bone
Postmenopausal - After the menopause
Supplement - A dietary supplement is a vitamin or mineral taken in a non-food form (such as a pill - e.g. vitamin D or calcium)
Symptom - An effect of a disease or condition that you can see or feel. Osteoporosis usually has no symptoms until a fracture happens
Vitamin D - A nutrient that enables your body to absorb calcium. It can be obtained from sunlight, food, or supplements