Senior Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when our bodies either lose large amounts of bone mass or produces too little bone. When this happens, our bones become weak and brittle, increasing the likelihood of fracture.
It's especially important for seniors to know and understand the risk factors associated with osteoporosis, as one in four Americans 65 years and older falls every year. If you suffer from bone loss, a fall could be increasingly debilitating. Consider the following risk factors:
Research has suggested that smoking increases the risk of fracture. Bone loss could also result from a variety of other risk factors commonly seen within the smoking population such as:
- Increased alcohol use
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Earlier menopause in women
- Weight factors
Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. This is mostly due to the reduction of estrogen levels that occurs during menopause, which is one of the biggest risk factors.
3. Poor Diet
You are at a higher risk for osteoporosis if you eat a diet low in calcium or you have an eating disorder, as these two factors contribute to diminished bone density.
4. Low Body Weight
People with smaller body frames are more likely to develop osteoporosis, as they have less bone mass to draw from.
6. Certain Medications
Researchers have found links between osteoporosis and corticosteroid medications like prednisone and cortisone as well as medications used to treat seizures, gastric reflux, cancer, and transplant rejection.
7. Sedentary Lifestyle
When you are not physically active, your bones suffer. Weight-bearing exercises and cardio strengthen your bones and keep them strong.
8. Other Health Conditions
There are a variety of health issues that can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. Some of these include:
- Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Breast and prostate cancers
- Parkinson's disease
- Sickle cell disease
Osteoporosis affects approximately 54 million Americans. Many of these people don't even know they have it, as it's impossible to feel one's bones weakening. The best thing you can do is to be proactive and undergo a bone density screening at your local bone health clinic.