Knowing the risk factors for osteoporosis can help you determine if you will have greater chances of suffering from this bone disease. Osteoporosis has no easily recognized symptoms that point out bone loss. But there are certain factors that indicate how some people are more at risk than others. Review your current lifestyle habits to see if you might be at greatest risk for osteoporosis.
Common risk factors for osteoporosis are:
*Being a woman over 50, or a man over 70 – women are more at risk because we start out with less bone mass than men and we lose it more quickly as we age
*Having a thin, slender body or being small boned
This is more about your bone size, not your weight. Here’s a quick test to give you a general idea of your bone structure. Place one hand under your opposite wrist, then take your hand’s middle finger and thumb and wrap them around the wrist to see if your finger and thumb meet. If your finger and thumb meet you are average bone size, if the finger and thumb overlap you are small boned, and if the finger and wrist do not meet you have a larger bone structure.
*White or Asian heritage – osteoporosis can affect anyone but these groups are at higher risk than say African Americans or Hispanics
*Getting little or no exercise, especially bone building activities such as walking or strength training
*Smoking - even if you quit in the past you may still suffer the effects of bone loss
*Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day contributes to faster bone loss
*Not getting enough calcium in your diet leads to porous bones
*Not getting enough vitamin D due to lack of sunlight and/or lack of supplements – vitamin D is crucial as it helps the bones absorb calcium
*Menopause or going through menopause early – not something we can control but we can work with our condition
*Having too much caffeine in your diet interferes with calcium absorption
*Medications including cortisone, prednisone, thyroid hormone, anti-convulsants, antacids containing aluminum all affect calcium absorption and speed up bone loss
*Suffering from anorexia or bulimia in the past or present
The greater number of risk factors, the greater the odds are that you might develop osteoporosis. But once you know the risk factors of osteoporosis, there are ways you can help slow down the advancement of the disease and minimize its effects. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors to discover the steps you can take to improve your health. Stronger bones are part of good overall health, and it is never too late to take action against osteoporosis.
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