Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes the bones to become so thin that they can break during normal daily activities such as lifting a heavy object or rolling over in bed. Whether someone will develop osteoporosis or loss of bone, known as osteopenia,
depends on the thickness of the bones early in life, as well as health, diet, and physical activity later in life.
The exact cause of osteoporosis is not known. However, osteoporosis has been linked
to the natural process of aging and to the decreased production of estrogen in women and
testosterone in men. Not getting adequate calcium and phosphorous , two minerals
needed to build strong bones and vitamin D has also been linked to the development of
Men and women can develop osteoporosis as they age, although women who have
gone through menopause are at greatest risk. Women have less bone mass than men and
lose bone mass sooner and faster than men. Women develop osteoporosis almost four
times more often than men. Women of European and Asian ancestry are
more like to have osteoporosis than those from other backgrounds. Osteoporosis is rare
in children and teens.
Risks factors for osteoporosis for developing osteoporosis in both men and women
have been identified. Family history of osteoporosis makes you more likely to develop
osteoporosis. Lifestyle and environmental factors can contribute to the disease.
Smokers are at higher risk for osteoporosis . How smoking causes bone thinning is not
known however. Getting little or no weight-bearing exercise can contribute to the
develop of the disease. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, stair climbing,
dancing, or lifting weights keep bones strong and healthy by working the muscles and
bones against gravity. People with a thin body build are at greater risk. Slender people
are more likely to develop the disease because they have less bone tissue and less fat than
heavier people. Fat tissue stores estrogen, which helps protect women from osteoporosis.
A diet low in food containing calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D also contribute to
development of the disease.
Certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, put you at greater risk. Taking
corticosteroids to treat conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease for
a period of six months or longer can lead to steroid-induced osteoporosis. Many men
develop the disease do so as a result of using these types of medications.
Other risks factors may include overusing antacids that contain aluminum. Antacids
that contain aluminum remove phosphorus and calcium from the body, causing faster-
than-normal bone thinning. Excessive dieting or eating disorders, such as anorexia
nervosa is another risk factor, People with eating disorders usually have low body fat and
therefore low levels of estrogen, which increases their risks. Female athletes are at risk for