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Osteoporosis Risk in Younger Women

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Topic Overview

During childhood and teen years, new bone grows faster than existing bone is absorbed by the body. After age 30, this process begins to reverse. As a natural part of aging, bone dissolves and is absorbed faster than new bone is made, and bones become thinner. You are more likely to have osteoporosis if you did not reach your ideal bone thickness (bone density) during your childhood and teenage years.

In women, bone loss increases around menopause, when ovaries produce less estrogen, a hormone that protects against bone loss. Younger women, especially in their 30s and 40s, are at lower risk for osteoporosis than older women. But your risk increases if you:

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Knowing and Treating Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is sometimes diagnosed incidentally after an X-ray has been taken for a fracture or an illness. If your health care provider suspects you have osteoporosis, he or she may measure you to check for a loss of height. The vertebrae are often the first bones affected, causing a loss in height of half an inch or more. Your health care provider may also recommend that your bone density be measured.  Diagnostic tools more likely to catch osteoporosis at an early stage include various forms...

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  • Have already gone through menopause. Most women go through menopause starting in their 50s, but some women go through this change earlier.
  • Smoke.
  • Do not get regular weight-bearing exercise.
  • Do not get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
  • Take corticosteroids or other medicines that may thin your bones.
  • Have more than about 1 alcoholic drink a day.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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