Healthy Living

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Are you at risk for osteoporosis?

A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of developing osteoporosis. There are usually no symptoms to indicate a person is developing osteoporosis and this is why osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent disease. Having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will have osteoporosis. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing a disease and also, the greater the level of each risk factor, the greater the risk.

There are multiple risk factors for osteoporosis -fixed and modifiable. While some, such as being female, being older, being of certain ethnicities -such as Caucasian and Asian, and having a small body frame size cannot be changed, many lifestyle factors that can be modified have a significant impact on bone health.

Avoid negative habits like smoking and excessive alcohol intake as they are bad for bones and can also lead to other health issues. People with particular risk factors for low bone density should talk to their doctor. Other risk factors include: family history of osteoporosis, low calcium and vitamin D levels, having certain conditions and /or being on medications that can impact on bone. If you have osteoporosis and have experienced a fracture, calcium alone is not sufficient to prevent further fractures; you will also require a specific osteoporosis treatment. However, it is important to have adequate calcium and vitamin D to support your bone health while you are on osteoporosis treatment.

Who is at risk for osteoporosis?

Certain people are more likely than others to develop osteoporosis and there are certain risk factors that may make you more susceptible to developing osteoporosis. Below is a list of some of the risk factors:
  • Being female
  • Being thin and /or having a small frame
  • Being Caucasian, African-American Asian, or Hispanic
  • Being of advanced age
  • Early menopause
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • A diet low in calcium and vitamin D
  • The avoidance of milk-product consumption
  • lactose intolerance and the inability to digest milk and dairy products
  • The use of certain medications
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
It should be noted that to the above risk factors, insufficient collagen intake can be part of the lower bone density problem. A typical example is a serious disorder of bone metabolism, from collagen deficiency which can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of broken bones or even osteogenesis imperfecta -brittle bone disease- imperfectly formed bones.

Decrease your chances of getting osteoporosis

Looking after your bones is a normal part of general health and there are a number of things you can do at any stage of life to improve and maintain your bone health. Your bones require calcium, vitamin D and "bone friendly, weight-bearing exercise" on a regular basis. Examples include: Walking, Jogging, Dancing and Aerobics. Swimming and cycling are not weight-bearing and do not affect bone density. Weight-bearing exercise can slow loss of bone mass and micro-architectural deterioration. Exercise can also improve strength and balance to reduce some falls, and thereby reduce fall-associated fracture risk.