Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis


As the population ages, osteoporosis is a concern for more and more people. Since bone loss and calcium deficiency are closely linked, it is important to get enough of this important mineral in your diet, especially in the first three decades of your life, when the density of your bones is being established.

Young and old

The two periods of your life when calcium consumption most affects your bone health are childhood, when you are growing and developing and old age, when your ability to absorb calcium as well as your calcium stores may be compromised.

It is not easy for your health care provider to tell if you are at risk for osteoporosis, since your blood calcium levels will not reflect bone loss. You can lose mineral from your bones for many years, and it may not show up until the loss of bone is at an advanced stage.

Interesting fact: Many people don't know that when you are deficient in calcium, which has a number of important functions besides bone health, your body has the ability to move calcium from your bones into your blood so that it may perform its other functions.

Calcium is not the only factor

However, calcium deficiency is not the only osteoporosis risk factor. Other risk factors for osteoporosis have been well documented by scientific research. Some of these factors are beyond your control, but you can lower the risk of serious bone loss by paying attention to the lifestyle factors you can control.

Note: Weight bearing exercise, such as brisk walking, tennis and working out with weights may significantly reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. This is because as you build heavier muscles, your body responds by building heavier, denser bones to support those heavier muscles.

Here is list of risk factors for osteoporosis.

Click here for a printable copy of this list.

-Gender - Women get osteoporosis more than men

-Age - Older people are more prone to bone loss than younger

-Body frame - Frail people have frailer bones than sturdy people 

-Heredity - Family history of osteoporosis increases risk

-Hormone Deficiency - Lower estrogen levels in women/testosterone levels  in men increases risk 

-Long-term Vitamin deficiency - Particularly Vitamin D

-Long-term Mineral deficiency -Particularly Calcium

-Lifestyle choices:

Cigarette smoking

Excessive alcohol consumption

Sedentary lifestyle

Caveat: Over-the-counter medications that you take for acid reflux or heartburn, such as Prilosec and other proton-pump-inhibitors, if used long-term, can cause an upset in your calcium balance and this can lead to bone loss.
If you suffer from acid indigestion, and you use these products, be sure to limit use to only a few weeks at a time to avoid problems.

Instead of using them long term, try making some changes in your diet and eating habits to help alleviate symptoms.

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