Osteoporosis Risk Factors & Prevention
By this time, most women know they are at risk for developing osteoporosis in their later years, but what they may not know is why. The risk factors of osteoporosis are a mixture of lifestyle habits, genetics, age and other permanent factors that cannot be manipulated or changed.
Gender is perhaps the most significant risk factor in developing the disease, putting women in a much higher risk category than men. Women naturally have less bone tissue than men, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The estrogen hormone plays a large role in keeping bones strong and healthy. When estrogen levels decrease during menopause, bones become more vulnerable to fracture. The same is true for testosterone levels in men, which progressively decrease with age. Age plays a large role in the development of osteoporosis in both men and women. As men and women get older, their bones lose density and mass, making them more likely break and/or fracture.
Women with small body frames are more prone to osteoporosis due to having smaller, thinner bones. Similarly, certain ethnicities, such as Asians and Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than others. In rarer cases, reduced bone mass may be hereditary according to NIAMS.