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What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 20, 2023.

Official answer


Your risk of osteoporosis depends on a number of uncontrollable factors such as age, gender, and a family history, as well as controllable factors such as health, diet and physical activity:

  • Your age – bone density declines at a faster rate over the age of 50
  • Your diet – a regular intake of calcium and other minerals is necessary
  • How much you exercise and what type of exercise you do - weight-bearing exercises increase bone density
  • Sex hormone levels – women after menopause and men with low testosterone are at higher risk
  • Sun exposure – sun is needed in small amounts for our skin to make vitamin D
  • What other medical conditions you have – people with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of osteoporosis
  • What medicines you take – corticosteroids, antiandrogens, and aromatase inhibitors increase risk
  • If you are deficient in any vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D or calcium
  • How much you smoke or drink – smoking or a high alcohol intake increases risk
  • How much you weigh – people who are underweight generally have lower bone densities
  • If you have had any previous fractures.

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