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Osteoporosis Risk Factors Associated with Lifestyle and Hormonal Deficiencies

Posted Aug 25 2012 2:04pm

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by reduced mineral density and susceptibility to fractures. This is due to altered bone structure, which makes the bones more fragile. Osteoporosis risk factors include: reduced levels of estrogen at menopause, family history, sex, age, and race (ethnicity). Other factors are exercise levels, alcohol intake, and the use of some medications.

Osteoporosis Risk Factors: Estrogen Levels

The risk of developing osteoporosis increases considerably 5 years after the onset of menopause. Unexpected and sudden fractures in the spine and hips are more likely, and they are often painful.
Research has shown that the onset of osteoporosis during menopause and perimenopause is associated with reduced estrogen levels. This leads to loss of bone mass, and most women lose about 10 percent of their bone mass during the first 5 years.

Family History, Sex, and Race as Osteoporosis Risk Factors

People who have a sibling or parent with osteoporosis face a higher risk of developing the condition. Sex is another factor, and women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 8 men and 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 experience osteoporosis-related fractures at some point in their life. While men are at a lower risk, research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that the condition affects about 2 million men each year. The risk of fractures ranges from 13 percent to 25 percent.
About 33 percent of women aged 65 and over have spine fractures due to osteoporosis. Some 20 percent of people with hip fractures die from pneumonia, blood clots, and other conditions that result from lack of activity. Age and race (ethnicity) are other osteoporosis risk factors. The risk of osteoporosis increases with age, with bones weakening and becoming thinner.
People of Asian and white decent are more likely to develop the condition. Some research studies have shown that Asian women consume products that are low in calcium. One explanation is that women of Asian decent avoid dairies because 90 percent of them have intolerance to lactose. For this reason, they are more likely to have hip fractures and to develop osteoporosis. African American women are at a lower risk because they have denser bones, i.e. the mineral density of their bones is higher. At the same time, they face a higher risk of death due to hip fracture than Caucasian women. Research published in the Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis shows that women of Hispanic decent are as likely to have osteoporosis as white women. However, Hispanic women are at risk of diabetes, which increases the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. The risk increases for women with thin and small bones. Moreover, a number of research studies have indicated that an increasing number of Hispanic women experience hip fractures.

Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are risk factors for developing osteoporosis. Vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium by the body. Sources of vitamin D include eggs, cod liver oil, tuna fish, sardines, and button mushrooms. Stocking up on products that are rich in vitamin D helps prevent conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Foods that contain calcium include cheese, milk, yogurt, and buttermilk. Other calcium-rich foods are vegetables like soybeans, spinach, and cowpeas. It is important to get enough calcium because you lose it through your hair, nails, skin, and urine. The body takes calcium from the bones in case of calcium deficiency. Moreover, foods such as beans, peas, pinto, and bran affect calcium absorption. People who consume foods rich in sodium and protein are more likely to need more calcium.
Other osteoporosis risk factors include exercise level, alcohol consumption, and eating disorders. Anorexia and other eating disorders reduce the intake of calcium and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Anorexic women often suffer from amenorrhea which weakens the bones. Regular and excessive alcohol consumption affects the absorption of calcium and increases the risk of developing the condition. Sedentary lifestyle is another risk factor while jumping, running, weightlifting, and walking are beneficial for the bones. While the effect of tobacco has not been researched extensively, some researchers argue that it makes the bones weaker. In addition, some medications increase the risk of osteoporosis, including anticonvulsants, steroids, and diuretics. The use of corticosteroid medications over a long period of time affects bone-rebuilding. Such medications are cortisone and prednisone. Medications that help prevent or treat cancer, gastric reflux, and seizures also increase the risk.
Prevention and healthy lifestyle habits are essential. Healthy habits include regular exercise, balanced diet, and consumption of foods rich in vitamin D and calcium. White there are a number of osteoporosis risk factors, including age, hormonal deficiencies, and family history, making lifestyle changes helps prevent osteoporosis. It is also important to prevent fractures and falls. Risk factors include poor vision, inability to walk, low blood pressure, and some medications. Physicians recommend having regular eye checkups, moving any furniture and obstructions, and exercising on a regular basis.

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