Skip to content

Osteoporosis Health Center

Select An Article

Causes of Spinal Compression Fractures

Font Size

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 23, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Women working out and walking with weights
Reduce bone loss and build stronger muscles.
Chinese cabbage
Calcium-rich foods to add to your diet.
woman stretching
Get the facts on osteoporosis.
Porous bone
Causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.
senior woman
Woman holding plate of brocolli
wrist xray
Superfood for Bones
mature woman
sunlight in hands
man and woman in front of xray
woman with dumbbells