There are many risk factors for osteoporosis. There are some that do not have a clear mechanism for causing osteoporosis, but they still increase your risk. These include being a woman, being older, having a small body frame, having a family history of osteoporosis, or having white or Asian ancestry. Fortunately, there are also many factors that increase your risk that you do have control over. These include having an inactive lifestyle, drinking large amounts of alcohol, using tobacco, having eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, not consuming enough calcium, and using corticosteroids or other long-term medications. Having too much thyroid hormone, having some conditions (like Crohn's disease) and having certain surgeries, like stomach surgery or weight-loss surgery, also increase your risk for osteoporosis.
A Answers (4)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
The risk of osteoporosis increases with age as bones naturally become thinner. But it usually doesn't affect people until they are 60 or older.
Family and personal history
Things that increase the risk of osteoporosis include:
- Having a family history of osteoporosis. If your mother, father or a sibling has been diagnosed with osteoporosis or has had broken bones from a minor injury, you are more likely to get osteoporosis.
- Completing menopause. Estrogen protects women from bone loss, and estrogen levels drop after menopause. Women whose ovaries aren't working properly or have been removed also are at risk because of lower estrogen levels.
- Lifestyle risks
- Smoking. People who smoke lose bone thickness faster than nonsmokers.
- Alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use can decrease bone formation, and it increases the risk of falling. Heavy alcohol use is more than 2 standard drinks a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women.
- Getting little or no exercise. Weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing and lifting weights. They keep bones strong and healthy by working the muscles and bones against gravity. Exercise may improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling.
- Poor diet. A diet low in foods containing calcium and vitamin D increases your risk of thinning bones.
Other things that increase risk
Other risk factors include:
- Taking corticosteroids or certain other medicines.
- Being inactive or bedridden for long periods of time.
- Dieting excessively or having an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa.
- Being a female athlete if you have few or irregular menstrual cycles due to low body fat.
Find out your fracture risk
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a tool called FRAX. Your doctors might use the FRAX tool to help predict your risk of having a fracture related to osteoporosis in the next 10 years. You can use this tool too. Go to the website at www.sheffield.ac.uk/FRAX, and click on Calculation Tool. If you have had a bone density test on your hip, you can enter your score. If you haven't had that test, you can leave the score blank.
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Riverside Women's Health answered
There are several risk factors that raise your chances of developing osteoporosis. Some of these factors are things you can control, while some you can't control.
Factors that you can't control:
- Being female
- Having a small, thin body (under 127 pounds)
- Having a family history of osteoporosis
- Being over 65 years old
- Being white or Asian, but African American and Hispanic/Latina women are also at risk
- Not getting your period (if you should be getting it)
- Having anorexia nervosa
- Not getting enough exercise
- Long-term use of certain medicines, including: Glucocorticoids — medicines used to treat many illnesses, including arthritis, asthma, and lupus; Some antiseizure medicines; Gonadotropin-releasing hormone — used to treat endometriosis; Antacids with aluminum — the aluminum blocks calcium absorption
- Some cancer treatments
- Too much replacement thyroid hormone
Factors that you can control:
- Drinking too much alcohol. Experts recommend no more than 1 drink a day for women.
- A diet low in dairy products or other sources of calcium and vitamin D
- Not getting enough exercise
You may also develop symptoms that are warning signs for osteoporosis. If you develop the following, you should talk to your doctor about any tests or treatment you may need:
- Loss in height, developing a slumped or hunched posture, or onset of sudden unexplained back pain.
- You are over age 45 or a post-menopausal and you break a bone.
This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.
You are more likely to have osteoporosis if you are female, elderly, Caucasian, or slender, or have had both ovaries removed before menopause. Other factors that might increase the risk of osteoporosis, such as the number of pregnancies, history of lactation (milk production), and consumption of caffeine do not seem to be particularly good indicators of bone mass. Smoking seems to be related to hip fractures but not so much to bone mass.
The risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis depends on your initial bone mass and the rate of bone loss after menopause.