Biological and Medical Risk Factors

  • Biological Sex - Women have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis.


  • Race - Caucasians and Asians are at greater risk of having osteoporosis.


  • Age - Since bone loss begins at around age 30, the risk of osteoporosis increases with age.


  • Family History - If others in your family have experienced hip or spine fractures or become hunched over as they age, you are at greater risk of experiencing the same symptoms.


  • Body Frame - A thin body frame with low body weight for height will increase the risk of osteoporosis.


  • Post Menopause - Women who are past menopause have reduced estrogen, so their chances of losing bone mass increase.


  • Low Estrogen - There is more risk if women have had a low rate of estrogen over their lifetime. The deficiency can be the result of late onset of puberty/getting their period, early menopause (before 40), or an absence or suppression of menstruation.


  • Medication Use - Certain medications increase the risk of osteoporosis because they contribute to loss of bone mass when used long term. These drugs include steroids, inhaled steroids, anti-epileptic drugs, immunosuppressants, anticoagulants, and thyroid hormone suppressive therapy.


  • Nutritional Conditions - Conditions such as anorexia nervosa, chronic liver disease, malabsorption syndromes, or malnutrition can increase the risk of osteoporosis.


  • Endocrine Disease or Metabolic Causes - These could include thalassemia, diabetes, or hemochromatosis.


  • Other Medical Disorders - Conditions such as Down's syndrome, mastocytosis, myeloma and some cancers, renal tubular acidosis, rheumatologic disorders, and immobilization add to the risks.
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