A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition. It is possible to develop
with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk Factors for Men
Men have a higher bone density and lose calcium at a slower rate than women. However, after age 50, bone loss gradually increases. Risk factors for bone loss in men include:
In men, deficiencies of testosterone and, to a much minor extent, estrogen play a role in the development of osteoporosis. This may be related to:
- Advanced age
Certain conditions that reduce testosterone levels (eg,
, treatment for
- Hypogonadism (a severe deficiency in the male sex hormone)
Risk Factors in Both Sexes
Your risk of developing osteoporosis increases if you have a restrictive diet (eg, not getting enough
). An excess of
in your diet may increase your risk if your calcium and/or vitamin D intakes are low. Excessive use of
, coffee, or tea may also increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Lack of Exercise
, especially weight-bearing and resistance exercise, helps strengthen bones. Therefore, if you do not exercise on a regular basis, you may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Individuals who do not exercise regularly also tend to have weaker muscles and poorer balance, which can lead to falls and fractures.
impairs bone, muscle, and joint health. If you smoke, you have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Bone Structure and Body Weight
Small-boned women and underweight people of both sexes have an increased risk of osteoporosis. Individuals who are short, thin, and have narrow hips are at increased risk of low bone density and fracture.
Lack of Sunlight
The effect of sun on the skin is a primary source of vitamin D, which aids bone formation. If you get very little sun exposure and have a low dietary intake of vitamin D, you may be at increased risk of osteoporosis.
Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than those of other ethnic groups. Though most ethnic studies have focused on women, it is believed that men in these ethnic groups carry a parallel but lower risk.
The long-term use of certain medicines increases your risk of osteoporosis. Examples include:
- Medicines to suppress the immune system
- Hormonal therapy
- Thyroid medicines
- Antidepressants (eg, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
- Antiseizure medicines
- Medicines containing aluminum (eg, certain antacids)
- Long-term heparin therapy
- Glitazones (diabetes medicine)
Talk to your doctor before stopping or reducing your medicine.
Certain chronic diseases may increase your risk for developing osteoporosis.
- Cardiovascular disease
Liver disease (eg,
- Kidney disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cushing’s syndrome
(vitamin C deficiency)
- Gastrointestinal disorders, especially those causing malabsorption
- Eating disorder
(possibly be due to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which may contribute to loss of bone density)
Inherited disorders (eg,
Cancer (eg, lymphoma, leukemia,
Treatment for cancer (eg,
- Organ transplant
- Crohn's disease
Diseases During Childhood
If you had certain conditions during childhood, you may be at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis later in life. Examples of these conditions include:
- Premature birth
- Anorexia nervosa
or other diseases that are treated with corticosteroids
Disorders that cause malabsorption (eg,
inflammatory bowel disease
- Conditions that cause low hormone levels (eg,
delayed puberty, delayed onset of periods in girls, infrequent or no periods in girls)