28 May 2014 09:18:55 MDT Written by: Administration

9 Risk Factors That Make People Vulnerable to Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis threatens 28 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of them women; and it leads to over a million broken or fractured bones every year. Osteoporosis - which literally means "porous bones" - develops as a result of a number of factors, among them genetics, aging and lifestyle.

Anyone can get osteoporosis, but according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women are most vulnerable because their bones are smaller and lighter than men's to begin with. Other groups at risk include:

  • people with a family history of the disease
  • people of Caucasian or Asian descent
  • smokers and heavy drinkers
  • people with thin or small builds
  • people using steroid medications for other disease
  • women in early menopause or prolonged menopause
  • people over age 65
  • inactive or bed-ridden people
  • history of hip fracture in a parent

We all lose bone mass as we age, but if you've built up bone mass early in life, the loss is less likely to cause devastating problems. That's why dietitians stress the importance of calcium for children and teens. To learn about Osteoporosis prevention and Calcium, visit our Health Library.

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