Osteoporosis is a medical condition that makes your bones weak and fragile. Bones are living tissue that grows and replaces itself naturally. When you have osteoporosis, your body doesn’t generate enough new bone to replace the bone that is lost, resulting in brittle bones that can easily break.
Signs of weak bones due to osteoporosis include bone fracture, loss of height, and a stooped posture. Osteoporosis can make it very easy to suffer a bone fracture if you fall or even bend down. The most common areas of the body for osteoporosis damage are the hip, spine, and wrist.
Nathaniel Neal, MD, and his team at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center regularly diagnose and treat patients suffering from osteoporosis and bone loss. Learn your risk factors and find out if you may be suffering from bone loss. Taking a proactive approach to osteoporosis can help you stay healthy and continue enjoying the life you love. Here are the five leading risk factors for osteoporosis.
Women are much more likely to suffer osteoporosis than men. Women typically have lower bone mass throughout their lives than men, and low sex hormone levels can weaken your bones.
Women are particularly at-risk for developing osteoporosis during and after menopause. Menopause dramatically reduces estrogen levels in a woman’s body and this can speed bone loss. Men can also develop osteoporosis, but it’s not as common. As men age, they experience a gradual reduction in testosterone levels.
Your risk for osteoporosis increases after you reach age 50. The older you get, the more time your bones have to lose mass. When you’re in childhood and your teen years, your body generates more bone than it loses. As a result, your bone mass typically grows until you’re in your 20s. As you age, your bones begin to lose more mass than they create.
Race and ethnicity impacts your bone mass and in turn, your risk for osteoporosis. People that are Caucasian or Asian are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Caucasian and Asian women are the demographics that are at the greatest risk for osteoporosis. African Americans typically have higher bone mass and lower rates of osteoporosis.
Small, thin people are more likely to have osteoporosis because they have less bone that people with larger frames. Both women and men with small frames and low body weights have smaller bones with less mass.
The larger your bones are, the more bone mass they have to support their structure. People with smaller bones are often more affected by bone loss because they have less bone to lose overall.
If a parent or grandparent had osteoporosis, you’re more likely to have it as well. If you have a parent or grandparent who had a hip fracture, that can also increase your risk.
Experiencing a broken bone may make your bones weaker. A common sign of bone loss is a fracture after a minor fall or doing something that wouldn’t typically result in a broken bone. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of getting osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks itself and can increase bone loss.
Research also indicates that some lifestyle choices can put you at increased risk for developing osteoporosis. Living a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t stimulate bone growth, while smoking or drinking too much alcohol can damage your bones and make them more fragile.
Many risk factors of osteoporosis — like age, gender, and family history — are unavoidable. But, it’s important to understand your risk and talk to the team at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center about how you can keep your bones healthy.
Focusing on a healthy diet that delivers important vitamins and nutrients and participating in activities that promote strong bones can help you fight osteoporosis. To learn more about osteoporosis treatment, schedule your first appointment with us today.