What causes osteoporosis?

Charles J. Jordan, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The exact medical cause of osteoporosis is not known, but several factors such as aging, heredity, nutrition, lifestyle, medications and other illnesses such as cancer are known to be contributing factors. Some risk factors, such as gender and age, cannot be changed. Other factors, such as eating habits and lifestyle activities, can be adjusted.
Susie Whitworth
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes loss of bone mass and increases the risk for fractures. It is a skeletal disorder with compromised bone strength, bone density and bone quality. Bone loss is common with aging. The causes of osteoporosis include genetic factors, environmental factors and lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking and lack of weight bearing exercise.
Our bones are complex, living tissue. Up until a certain age, the body constantly breaks down old bone and rebuilds new bone, a process called “remodeling.” During childhood and adolescence, more bone is built than removed, so bones become larger and stronger. At a certain point, the amount of bone removed catches up with the amount of bone built, and osteoporosis disrupts the natural bone-building cycle resulting in a decrease of the total amount of bone.
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Normal bone metabolism is dependent on an intricate interplay of many nutritional, lifestyle,and hormonal factors. Many dietary factors have been suggested as a cause of osteoporosis,including low calcium intake, high phosphorus intake, high refined sugar intake, high-protein diet, high-acid-ash diet, high salt intake, and trace mineral deficiencies, to name a few. Other risk factors for osteoporosis include family history of osteoporosis; alcoholism; smoking; physical inactivity; short stature, low body mass, and/or small bones; and never having been pregnant. Osteoporosis is most common in postmenopausal Asian and white women.
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Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones.” Doctors do not know the exact medical causes of osteoporosis, but they have identified major factors that can lead to the disease, include aging, heredity, nutrition and lifestyle.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.