Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • Many of our readers are searching for some basic information on bone loss, which includes osteopenia and osteoporosis; the following will explain the various risk factors for osteoporosis.

     

    Preventing osteoporosis should start in childhood, with plenty of weight-bearing exercise, a diet high in vegetables, fruit, protein, calcium and vitamin D.  To see a full list of supplements, for osteoporosis prevention and treatment, read the National Osteoporosis Foundation's recommended list.

     

    The definition of bone from the National Institute of Health:  "Bone is living, growing tissue. It is made mostly of collagen, a protein that provides a soft framework, and calcium phosphate, a mineral that adds strength and hardens the framework."  Since bone is a living, growing tissue, we need to take care of it by providing the necessary nutrients that will continue to keep it strong and healthy.

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    "Many people think that osteoporosis is a natural and unavoidable part of aging. However, medical experts now believe that osteoporosis is largely preventable. Furthermore, people who already have osteoporosis can take steps to prevent or slow further progress of the disease and reduce their risk of future fractures. Although osteoporosis was once viewed primarily as a disease of old age, it is now recognized as a disease that can stem from less than optimal bone growth during childhood and adolescence, as well as from bone loss later in life (National Institute of Health 2011)." [2]

     

     Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

    • Age.  As we get older the risk of bone loss increases.  However, children, adolescents and young adults can have bone loss as well. 
    • Gender. Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men, but men can acquire it too.
    • Menopause/Hormones.  As our estrogen levels drop, our bones lose their density.  In men, low testosterone levels can have the same affect.
    • Family History.  Bone loss runs in families, so you are more likely to have this if members of your family do as well.
    • Low body weight/Body size.  In addition to low body weight and size, eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa can lead to osteoporosis.
    • Ethnicity.  White and Asian women are at greater risk for this and Black and Hispanics have a lower risk of bone loss.
    • Calcium and vitamin D intake.  If you don't get adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, this can lead to osteoporosis.
    • Medication use.
    • Medical disorders.
    • Activity level.  Inactivity or extended bed rest can cause osteoporosis.
    • Smoking.  Smoking also causes bone loss, so if you smoke please quit.  Smoking is also detrimental to your heart, lungs and other organs.
    • Drinking alcohol.  Excessive amounts of alcohol can cause bone loss.  Most medical professionals believe a small amount of alcohol will not contribute to bone loss and osteoporosis.  Alcohol can also cause broken bones since alcohol, in excess, can cause someone to fall. [2]

     

    Sources:

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    1. National Osteoporosis Foundation:  Osteoporosis supplements  http://www.nof.org/aboutosteoporosis/prevention/calcium 
    2. National Institute of Health:  Osteoporosis facts  http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/default.asp
Published On: April 15, 2011