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.
Osteopenia is a term used to describe bone density that is somewhat lower than normal -- but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which thinning bones become so fragile that they are prone to fracture easily. A person who has osteopenia is at risk for osteoporosis and may benefit from treatments to strengthen bone.
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.
Do Men Get Osteoporosis?
Yes. Men get osteoporosis too. In fact, about 2 million men over the age of 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.
How Common Is Osteoporosis Today?
With the aging of America, osteoporosis is becoming increasingly common. Among people 50 years of age and older, 55% are at significant risk for osteoporosis. In the U.S., more than 10 million men and women have osteoporosis. And nearly another 34 million are thought to have low bone mass. That places them at increased risk for osteoporosis.