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Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis? - What does this tool measure?


This tool measures the risk for developing thin and brittle bones (osteoporosis) in women age 45 and older. It is based on information from the Osteoporosis Risk Assessment Instrument.1

This tool is for most women age 45 and older. The results may not be accurate for women who have serious health problems. And it may not be accurate for women who have taken medicines such as corticosteroids for a long time.

The answers you choose in the tool are related to four of the major risk factors for osteoporosis. They are:

  • Being a woman. Men have a much lower risk than women do.
  • Being older than 65.
  • Having a thin body build.
  • Not taking estrogen. Estrogen (alone or in combination with progesterone) slows bone thinning and causes some increase in bone thickness. There are risks to taking estrogen, but it may be used to prevent or slow bone loss in women who are at risk or have osteoporosis.

Other risk factors that affect both men and women include:

  • Personal or family history of easily or unexplained broken bones.
  • Use of medicines that may cause osteoporosis, such as steroids or too much thyroid medicine.
  • For women, early menopause, which may be caused by ovaries not working properly or by surgical removal of the ovaries.
  • Family history (mother, father, or sibling) of osteoporosis.
  • Smoking.
  • Frequent use of alcohol.
  • Little or no weight-bearing exercise.
  • A diet low in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Hyperthyroidism or other conditions that make the body unable to absorb enough calcium.
  • European or Asian ancestry.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 30, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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