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 for you to have 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.
Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease," because most of the time, bone loss occurs without any symptoms at all. But when osteoporosis becomes severe, it can lead to fractures and a condition called kyphosis. Kyphosis is a deformity resulting from spinal compression fractures, sometimes described as the "dowager's hump." Both fractures and kyphosis can be very painful. This pain is usually more severe than the typical "aches and pains" many people feel as they get older.
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 the ages of 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 the age of 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.