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Osteoporosis FAQs (cont.)

Who Is at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Certain risk factors are associated with developing osteoporosis. Many people with osteoporosis have several risk factors, but some people with osteoporosis have none. Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include the following:

  • Sex: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
  • Age: The older a person is, the greater the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Physical build: People who are small and have thin bones are at greater risk.
  • Race: White and Asian women are at the highest risk.
  • Family history: If a person's parents had osteoporosis, he or she may be at risk.

Some risk factors can be modified. These include the following:

  • Levels of sex hormones: Low estrogen in women, particularly after menopause, and low testosterone in men are associated with osteoporosis.
  • Anorexia, diet: Diets low in calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D are risk factors.
  • Use of medications: Glucocorticoids, which are medications prescribed for a wide range of diseases, including arthritis, asthma, Crohn's disease, lupus, and other diseases, can cause osteoporosis.
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake

You can also take the 1-minute osteoporosis risk test from the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2015

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