In our previous post we learned about the risk factors that we can change to improve our chances of stronger bones. But maybe you are a person who already enjoys a calcium-rich diet, who gets plenty of exercise, and doesn’t heavily consume alcohol, yet you are still diagnosed with osteoporosis. Is it true that there are also factors you cannot change? Let’s take a moment to review and gain a better understanding.
Gender plays a big role in bone health. If you are female you have twice the risk of being diagnosed with osteoporosis as your male counterparts. Though both genders are at risk, females unfortunately are much more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. Studies have linked osteoporosis to depleting levels in the production of estrogen as a woman leaves her child-bearing years and transitions through menopause. Not surprising, females who experience early menopause (before age 45) have a greater risk of osteoporosis in the future.
The longer we live, the greater the risk. As we age we increase our risk of getting osteoporosis or dealing with increasingly brittle bones. Again this becomes a larger issue for females because on average a woman’s lifespan is longer than a male’s – leading to more years of living with brittle bones and the risk of being diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Different races have different levels of risk. You may not realize this, but race does impact how likely you are to suffer from osteoporosis. Those who are Caucasian or of Asian descent are at greatest risk.
All in the family. Family history plays a part as well. Do you have a parent or a sibling living with osteoporosis? This may put you at a greater risk, especially if your family has a documented history of fractures.
Taking your frame into consideration. The size of your physical frame impacts your chances for being diagnosed with osteoporosis. Males and females who are thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or individuals who have a small body frame tend to have a greater risk because of a lower bone mass to begin with. As time goes on there is less bone mass to lose from.
The thyroid balancing act. Thyroid issues are another factor we cannot prevent. An over-production of hormones can cause bone loss. This could stem from an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or because you have taken large amounts of thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism.)
Medical conditions impact bone health. There are additional medical conditions and procedures that can impact your bone health and density. Take for example stomach surgery (gastrectomy) and other forms of weight-loss surgery that affect how you absorb food, and thereby how you absorb calcium. Other conditions that can have an impact include Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease, hyperparathyroidism, and Cushing’s disease (though a rare disorder, it’s one causing your adrenal glands to produce excessive corticosteroid hormones.)
We are here to help you. Our OAM staff is knowledgeable about osteoporosis and can help explain what you can do to retain bone density, slow down the weakening of bones over time, and help treat osteoporosis.
Look for our future post about methods that are used to treat this brittle bone disease.