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Who develops Osteoporosis

Anyone may develop osteoporosis but some people are more at risk than others. In any one individual a combination of factors may put them at risk eg. their age, sex and race. An elderly woman is at much greater risk than a young man. Asians and Europeans are at greater risk than African-Carribbeans. Genetic factors influence peak bone mass and may also influence age-related bone loss.

In some cases bone loss caused by illness, drugs or lifestyle habits may greatly increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.

There are several factors that lead to an increased risk of Osteoporosis.

Predisposing Factor

Early Menopause before the age of 45 either naturally, as a result of removal of the ovaries, irradation/cancer chemotherapy.

Amenorrhoea Prolonged loss of periods or irregular menstruation common in women with anorexia nervosa and in those who exercise very vigorously eg. athletes, gymnasts and ballet dancers.
Oestrogen helps keep bones strong.
Female women have less bone than men so any bone loss will affect women more.
Past history of fracture increases the risk of future fracture.
Ageing bone loss begins in the mid 40’s and accelerates during the menopause.
Exercise Inactivity or excessive exercise.
Diet Poor dietary intake of calcium and Vitamin D.
Excessive Alcohol, Caffeine or Fibre intake.
Low body weight Indicates lower bone mass.
Race Asian or Caucasian.
Genetic Positive family history.
Medical Conditions

  • Endocrine disorders such as hypogonadism (underactive ovaries or testes) and Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).
  • Malabsorption problems such as crohn’s disease and coeliac disease.
  • Eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia)
  • Gastric Surgery
  • Severe Malnutrition

Drug Induced

  • Long term use of corticosteroids(>7.5 mg day for >3 months)
  • Thyroxine
  • Long term Lithium therapy(priadel)