Posted on by Paula Gallagher
My mom was diagnosed with osteoporosis about 10 years ago. Ever since then, I have been looking closely at my habits to make sure that I do not succumb to this "silent disease." Since there are no symptoms (hence silent disease), many people do not realize they have osteoporosis until there is a bone break. So I feel it is important to be proactive about strengthening your bones and doing what you can not to end up as one of the 10 million Americans who have it. Here are some risk factors that increase your chance for osteoporosis. This list came from NIH (National Institutes of Health). Risk factors you cannot change include:
- Gender. Women get osteoporosis more often than men.
- Age. The older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
- Body size. Small, thin women are at greater risk.
- Ethnicity. Caucasian and Asian women are at highest risk. Black and Hispanic women have a lower risk.
- Family history. Osteoporosis tends to run in families. If a family member has osteoporosis or breaks a bone, there is a greater chance that you will too.
- Sex hormones. Low estrogen levels due to missing menstrual periods or to menopause can cause osteoporosis in women. Low testosterone levels can bring on osteoporosis in men.
- Anorexia nervosa. This eating disorder can lead to osteoporosis.
- Calcium and vitamin D intake. A diet low in calcium and vitamin D makes you more prone to bone loss.
- Medication use. Some medicines increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Activity level. Lack of exercise or long-term bed rest can cause weak bones.
- Smoking. Cigarettes are bad for bones, heart, and lungs.
- Drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol can cause bone loss and broken bones.
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