Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Osteoporosis Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Causes of Osteoporosis

(continued)

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

The rate of bone loss varies from person to person. But around midlife, bones become thinner. How fast or how slow you lose bone depends on a number of factors

  • Your activity level
  • How much calcium you get
  • Your family history
  • Your history of taking certain medications
  • Your lifestyle habits, such as whether you smoke or how much alcohol you consume
  • The onset of menopause

Menopause, Estrogen, and Osteoporosis

Estrogen is important for maintaining bone density in women. When estrogen levels drop after menopause, bone loss speeds up. This can happen with natural menopause or an early surgical menopause if you have your ovaries removed.

During the first five to 10 years after menopause, women can lose about 2.5% of bone density each year. That means they can lose as much as 25% of their bone density during that time.

Accelerated bone loss after menopause is a major cause of osteoporosis in women. For women, having the strongest bones possible before you enter menopause is the best protection against debilitating fractures.

Can Osteoporosis Be Prevented?

About half of all women over the age of 50 and about one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis. But there are many things you can do to prevent osteoporosis and avoid painful fractures. For instance, make sure you get plenty of calcium in your daily diet. You can get calcium from both foods and supplements. You can also check your osteoporosis risk factors and change those you can control. For example, stop smoking if you are a smoker. If you need them, your health care provider can make recommendations about using osteoporosis medications.

A very important thing you can do is be sure to get plenty of exercise. Weight-bearing exercises stimulate the cells that make new bone. By increasing weight-bearing exercises, you encourage your body to form more bone. This can delay or even reverse the destructive process of osteoporosis that results in painful or debilitating fractures. By adding strength training to your exercise routine, you improve your muscle strength and flexibility and reduce the likelihood of falling. Talk to your health care provider about suitable exercise options for you.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 24, 2013
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

thumbnail_man_feeding_woman_strawberry
Slideshow
Managing OAB
Article
 
Vitamin D
Slideshow
osteoporosis overview
Slideshow
 
Lactose Intolerance
Article
Woman holding plate of brocolli
Article
 
Dairy products
Tool
Superfood for Bones
Slideshow
 
Screening Tests for Women
Slideshow
exercise endometrial cancer
Article
 
hand holding medicine
Article
Working Out With Osteoporosis
Video