Secondary osteoporosis occurs as a consequence of various lifestyle factors (eg, eating disorders, smoking, alcoholism), disease processes (eg, endocrinopathies, gastrointestinal tract disease, hepatobiliary disease), and treatment regimens that comprise corticosteroids or chemotherapeutic agents. Some of the disease entities underlying secondary osteoporosis may be clinically silent and identified only during evaluation for documented osteoporosis. The pathogenesis of osteoporosis in these settings is typically multifactorial. The loss of bone may be direct or indirect but ultimately is related to altered osteoblast or osteoclast function. Causes of secondary osteoporosis should especially be investigated in men at all ages and in premenopausal women with atraumatic fractures. In addition, patients with known risk factors should be evaluated. Early recognition and intervention are essential to prevent further loss of bone mass and to prevent fragility fractures.

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