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What Increases Your Risk
The risk of osteoporosis increases with age as bones naturally become thinner. After age 30, the rate at which your bone dissolves and is absorbed by the body slowly increases, while the rate of bone building decreases. So overall you lose a small amount of bone each year after age 30.
Bone loss speeds up after about age 45, when women produce less of the hormone estrogen and men produce less of the hormone testosterone. But it usually does not affect people until they are 60 or older.
Whether a person develops osteoporosis depends on the thickness of the bones (bone density) in early life as well as health, diet, and physical activity later in life. Factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis in both men and women include:
Other risk factors for osteoporosis may include:
Women who have completed menopause have the greatest risk of osteoporosis because their levels of the estrogen hormone drop. Estrogen protects women from bone loss. Likewise, women who no longer have menstrual periods—either because their ovaries are not working properly or because their ovaries have been surgically removed—also can have decreased estrogen levels.
To check your risk for osteoporosis, use the Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis? or use this osteoporosis risk questionnaire.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a tool called FRAX. Your doctors might use the FRAX tool to help predict your risk of having a fracture related to osteoporosis in the next 10 years. You can use this tool too. Go to the website at www.sheffield.ac.uk/FRAX, and click on Calculation Tool. If you have had a bone mineral density test (BMD) on your hip, you can enter your score. If you have not had that test, you can leave the score blank.
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