Skip to content

    Osteoporosis Health Center

    Select An Article

    Causes of Osteoporosis

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Are you searching for what causes osteoporosis? You may be surprised to learn that many factors contribute to the condition. For instance, a decrease in estrogen at menopause is one cause. There is also a genetic component. If your mother or grandmother had osteoporosis, the chances are higher that you will develop it, too.

    Eating a diet that's low in calcium, getting little exercise, and smoking cigarettes can also increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. It's important to know all you can about what causes osteoporosis. Then you can take preventive steps to stop this disease and lower your risk of bone fractures.

    Recommended Related to Osteoporosis

    Bone Density Scan

    The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis and nearly 34 million more have osteopenia, which puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis. Bone mineral density (BMD) is related to bone strength. BMD testing is used to diagnose osteoporosis. BMD is measured with a test called a DXA scan. By measuring BMD, doctors can predict the risk of having a bone fracture. A bone density scan, or test, should not be confused with a...

    Read the Bone Density Scan article > >

    Does Osteoporosis Start in Childhood?

    In childhood and adolescence, the body constantly breaks down old bone and rebuilds new bone. It does this through a process called "remodeling." During this time, the body builds more bone than it removes, and so bones grow and get stronger.

    You often hear how important it is for women to get enough calcium. But it's just as important -- maybe even more important -- that kids and teens get ample bone-boosting calcium. It's also important for them to exercise daily to build strong bones.

    When Does Osteoporosis Usually Happen in Women?

    For most women, the total amount of bone peaks somewhere between ages 25 and 30. It may peak even sooner for some women, depending on their risk factors for osteoporosis.

    When the total amount of bone peaks, the tide turns. At some point, usually around age 35, women start to lose bone.

    While some bone is lost each year, the rate of bone loss increases dramatically in the five to 10 years after menopause. Then, for several years, the breakdown of bone occurs at a much greater pace than the building of new bone. This is the process that eventually causes osteoporosis.

    During this time, even though your bones may still be strong enough to prevent unusual fractures and you have no signs to alert you to the disease, bone loss may become detectable with a bone density test.

    Do Men Get Osteoporosis?

    Yes. Men get osteoporosis. In fact, about 2 million men over age 65 have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis usually starts later and progresses more slowly in men. Still, osteoporosis in men is just as disabling and painful as it is in women.

    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
    Article
    Woman holding plate of brocolli
    Article
     
    wrist xray
    Quiz
    Superfood for Bones
    Slideshow
     
    mature woman
    Article
    sunlight in hands
    Article
     
    man and woman in front of xray
    Quiz
    woman with dumbbells
    Article