Risk Factors for Osteoporosis


About risk factors: Risk factors for Osteoporosis are factors that do not seem to be a direct cause of the disease, but seem to be associated in some way. Having a risk factor for Osteoporosis makes the chances of getting a condition higher but does not always lead to Osteoporosis. Also, the absence of any risk factors or having a protective factor does not necessarily guard you against getting Osteoporosis. For general information and a list of risk factors, see the risk center.

Risk factor list: The list of risk factors mentioned for Osteoporosis in various sources includes:

Risk factors discussion: Factors that can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis include:

  • being female;

  • a small, thin body frame;

  • a family history of osteoporosis;

  • postmenopausal status or advanced age;

  • Caucasian or Asian race;

  • abnormal absence of menstrual periods;

  • anorexia nervosa or bulimia;

  • low testosterone levels in men;

  • diet low in dairy products or other sources of calcium and vitamin D;

  • inactive lifestyle;

  • long-term use of glucocorticoids (medications prescribed for many diseases, including arthritis, asthma, and lupus) anti-seizure medications; gonadotropin releasing hormone for treatment of endometriosis; aluminum-containing antacids; certain cancer treatments; and excessive thyroid hormone;

  • cigarette smoking; and

  • excessive use of alcohol and high salt, protein, and caffeine intake.


Although significant amounts of bone mineral can be lost during breastfeeding, this loss tends to be temporary. Studies consistently have shown that when women have bone loss during lactation, they recover full bone density within six months after weaning. 1

The risk factors for men are similar to those for women—smoking, not enough calcium or vitamin D, too much alcohol, family history, too little exercise, and taking certain drugs. Low levels of testosterone in older men seem to increase their loss of bone and chance of hip fracture. 2

Risks factors for Osteoporosis: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to risk factors for Osteoporosis:

1. excerpt from Osteoporosis: NWHIC
2. excerpt from Osteoporosis - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: June 5, 2003

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