Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Every woman is at risk for developing osteoporosis, as one out of every three women will have a vertebral fracture and one out of every six women will have a hip fracture during her lifetime. Along with being female and getting older, there are other risk factors associated with bone loss.
Risk factors you cannot change include:
- Genetics (family history)
- Ethnicity (Caucasian people are at higher risk)
- Premature menopause
- Medications that may cause bone loss, including corticosteroids, thyroid (excess use), heparin, methotrexate, anticonvulsants
- Some surgeries (gastrectomy or intestinal bypass)
- Diseases such as hyperthyroidism, hyperparathryoidism, Cushing's, anorexia nervosa and malabsorption
Risk factors you can change include:
- A diet low in calcium and/or vitamin D
- Too little or too much exercise
- High caffeine intake
- Alcohol abuse
Bone Loss Prevention
Maintaining bone health is vital to healthy aging. Use the following recommendations to help ensure that your bones maintain their strength and functionality as you age.
- Get Enough Calcium: Calcium is the mineral that gives bones their hardness, and many people don't have enough in their diets. Adults should receive at least 1,000 mg daily, and those people older than 50 years and pregnant/lactating women up to 1,300 mg.
- Get enough Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, but many people, especially those who live in northern latitudes, are vitamin D deficient. Fifteen minutes of midday sun is a good source of vitamine D, as is three to four glasses of fortified milk, frequent servings of fish and margarines or fortified cereals. Often a vitamin D supplement is required.
- Get Enough Exercise: Weight bearing (walking, jogging, dancing, etc.) and strength training exercises (the strengthening of specific muscle groups) should be engaged in at least four times a week. Speak to a health care provider to develop the regimen that is right for you.