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    Causes of Spinal Compression Fractures

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    Who Is at Highest Risk for Spinal Compression Fractures?

    Two groups of people are at highest risk for spinal compression fractures:

    • People with the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis.
    • People with cancer that has spread to their bones.

    If you have been diagnosed with certain kinds of cancer -- including multiple myeloma and lymphoma -- your doctor may monitor you for compression fractures. However, sometimes a spinal fracture may be the first indication of cancer.

    But if you have osteoporosis, you may not even know it.

    Here are the leading risk factors for osteoporosis:

    • Race: White and Asian women have the greatest risk.
    • Age: The risk rises rapidly in women over 50 and increases with age.
    • Weight: Thin women are at higher risk.
    • Early Menopause: Women who went through menopause before age 50 have higher risk.
    • Smokers: People who smoke lose bone thickness faster than nonsmokers.

    Statistically, among people over age 50, osteoporosis strikes:

    • 20% of white and Asian women
    • 10% of Hispanic women
    • 5% of black women
    • 5% of men

    And among those who develop compression fractures, studies indicate they face a 23% increase in mortality.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on February 27, 2016
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