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Causes of Spinal Compression Fractures

(continued)

Who Is at Highest Risk for Spinal Compression Fractures? continued...

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
  • 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.

"Frequently we see older ladies who lift something 15 to 20 pounds -- heavy enough to cause a compression fracture that sends them to a nursing home," Schaufele tells WebMD. "If she has significant underlying osteoporosis, it can cause a significant fracture. The pain is the biggest issue. And if she is not active enough, she can develop pneumonia."

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jeffrey S. Beitler, MD on January 31, 2012
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