Causes of Osteoporosis

Causes of osteoporosis include heredity, living environment, body size, weight, and diet. 

Consider heredity and environment

It's more common for women to develop osteoporosis than men. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of osteoporosis sufferers are women. 

Just being female, you're at higher risk but also other factors include family history, medical history, and living environment. 

Men are at less risk because they start with more bone mass and lose bone at a slower rate than women. 

Causes of Osteoporosis

Menopause and osteoporosis

According to the American Medical Association, between 20 and 30 percent of women that go through menopause have osteoporosis, and another 30 percent have low bone density. 

Women have greater risk of developing osteoporosis because of thinner bones, and also because the loss of estrogen at menopause accelerates bone loss. 

AMA discovered some interesting facts about age, bone fractures, and causes of osteoporosis. 

  • One out of 5 women over the age of 50 with a hip fracture will die within a year.

  • A 50 year old woman has a 14 percent risk of hip fracture over the remainder of her lifetime.

  • One out of two women older than 50 will have a bone fracture related to osteoporosis.

  • Over 90 percent of hip fractures in elderly women are due to osteoporosis.


A good way to tell if you are at risk for osteoporosis is if there is a history of loss of height in the family. Also, if a close relative had fractures related to osteoporosis, your risk of having osteoporosis increased, especially if osteoporosis increased on your mother's side of the family. 

Researchers have been conducting genetic studies to identify genes that predispose to lower peak bone mineral density and accelerate bone loss in menopause. 

Some women are at greater risk than others

On average, caucasian and Asian women have bone density 5 to 10 percent lower than women of African American, Mediterranean, or Latino descent. 

Women with fair skin and light hair are also at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Also, thin women with narrow hips are at greater risk for osteoporosis. 

Some studies indicate that people who start to go gray in their 20's and are more than 50 percent gray by age 40, have a higher risk of having osteoporosis. 

Your weight affects your chances

If you're a small person and narrow hipped, you likely haven't achieved as high a peak bone density as women who are heavier. 

Some studies say that if you weigh less than 127 pounds at any height, you're prone to osteoporosis. 

Dieting during adolescence increases risk

Causes of osteoporosis include excessive dieting. Dieting during adolescence seems to increase your risk of osteoporosis. Excessive dieting can lead to inadequate calcium intake which can lead to necessary calcium treatment for osteoporosis

Research shows that calcium is essential for building normal bone during childhood and adolescence. 

Women that have a history of bulimia or nervosa are especially at risk for osteoporosis. 

If you diet or exercise excessively, your menstrual periods may stop altogether. This can also lead to estrogen deficiency

Even young women can develop osteoporosis and fractures. 

Your body mass index (BMI) is one way to assess risk by weight. Women who are overweight have a lower risk of osteoporosis because fat cells produce estrogen. This doesn't mean it's a good idea to become overweight in order to lower your risk of osteoporosis because being overweight is associated with so many other risk factors. 

› Causes of Osteoporosis

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