osteoporosis – Risk factors

  • Age: Advance age increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Sex: It is more common in females because of the fact that age related bone loss starts early and progresses more rapidly thereafter. The sudden drop in estrogen hormone level after menopause further accelerates bone loss.
  • Race: Caucasians and Asian women are at a higher risk. It is more common in white women and men than in black (may be ascribed to low bone mineral content).
  • Family history: Daughters of females with postmenopausal osteoporosis have lower vertebral bone mass in comparison to that of non osteoporotic females indicating that genetic factors also influence the bone mass.
  • Diet : The peak bone mass is achieved around 30 years. Intake of diet low in calcium during this period may adversely affect the ultimate bone mass and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Deficiency of estrogen: Menopause or early menopause due to removal of ovaries leads to estrogen deficiency, thereby increasing the risk.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: By increasing the tendency of bone loss, a sedentary life style increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Medication: Prolonged use of drugs such as glucocorticoids, heparin increases the risk of osteoporosis. Glucocorticoids (steroids) increase bone resorption and decrease bone formation whereas, heparin increases bone resorption.
  • Cigarette smoking: The incidence of osteoporosis is higher in females who smoke.