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What are the Different Osteoporosis Risk Factors?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are a number of risk factors which have been identified for osteoporosis. People with several osteoporosis risk factors can be more likely to develop osteoporosis, although the condition can also appear in people who do not appear to be obviously at risk. By being aware of conditions one is at risk for, it is possible to take preventative steps to make these conditions less likely or less severe, such as supplementing nutrition to increase bone density to avoid problems such as fractures associated with osteoporosis.

The big three osteoporosis risk factors are age, sex, and race. Older adults are much more likely to develop this condition, as are women, with four fifths of osteoporosis cases being seen in women. People of Caucasian, Asian, or Latino descent are also more likely to get osteoporosis. These factors are not things which people can control for. People with a family history of osteoporosis are also at increased risk, as are people with small frames, especially if they have light bones.

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Other factors are more controllable. Eating a poor diet puts one at risk, as do inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol use. Getting more active can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other medical problems, as can improving one's diet. It's important to not only get ample vitamins and minerals, but to make sure that they are consumed in a form which can be absorbed by the body. One of the most effective ways to do this is to eat a varied diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Certain medical conditions can be osteoporosis risk factors. Eating disorders, a history of broken bones, celiac disease, and other conditions which interfere with nutrient absorption are all osteoporosis risk factors. Medications can also lead to decreased bone density or interfere with absorption of minerals, making patients vulnerable to osteoporosis and similar conditions. For women, menopause is another osteoporosis risk factor, especially if they experience an early onset, since lifetime exposure to estrogen appears to play a role in the onset of osteoporosis.

Many patients can identify osteoporosis risk factors without the assistance of a physician, although a doctor may have some additional areas of concern to address. Doctors can also provide advice about mitigating osteoporosis risk factors, such as an adopting an exercise regimen or changing a diet to make it healthier. The best time to start addressing risk factors is early; getting proper nutrition as a young adult, for example, will greatly increase bone health later in life.

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