Osteoporosis symptoms, causes and other risk factors


It is known fact that osteoporosis is causing your bones to come weak and brittle. They are so brittle that a fall or mild stresses such as coughing or bending over can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis – related fractures most often happen in the spine, wrist or hip. We know that bones are living tissues which are constantly being broken down and replaced. This condition can happen when the creation of new bone does not keep up with the removal of old bone. This condition can affect men and women from all races. But Asian and white women, especially older women who are past menopause, are having the highest risk of getting osteoporosis [1,2]. Weight – bearing exercises, healthy diet and medications can help to prevent the bone loss or to strengthen already weak bones.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

In the early stages of the bone loss, there are typically no symptoms. When our bones have been weakened by this condition, then we can have signs and symptoms which include:

  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected
  • A stooped posture
  • Loss of height over time
  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra

If your parents had hip fractures, if you went through early menopause or you took corticosteroids for several months at a time, then you should talk with your doctor about osteoporosis. Causes: We know that our bones are in constant state of renewal. New bone is made and the old bone is broken down. When we are in our young ages, then our bodies are making new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and our bone mass increases. It is known fact that most people reach their peak bone mass by their early 20s. As we are getting older, our bone mass is lost faster that it is created. How much chances we have to develop osteoporosis depend on how much bone mass is attained in the youth. It is known fact that the higher peak bone mass we have, the more bone you have “in the bank” and you are less likely to develop osteoporosis as you are getting older. osteoporosis

Risk factors for osteoporosis

There are many factors which can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, including medical conditions and treatments, lifestyle choices, race and age.

  1. Lifestyle choices: There are some bad habits which can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis such as:
  • Tobacco use: There are some studies in which is shown that the tobacco use can contribute to weak bones but the exact role tobacco plays in osteoporosis is not clearly understood. [3]
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: If you drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day on regular basis, then you have increased chances of developing osteoporosis. [4]
  • Sedentary lifestyle: People who spend a lot of time sitting are having increased chances to develop osteoporosis compared to people who are more active. [5]
  1. Medical condition: The risk of developing osteoporosis is higher in people who have some medical conditions such as
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Lupus
  • Cancer
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Celiac disease
  1. Unchangeable risks: There are some risk factors for osteoporosis which are your of your control such as
  • Body frame size: It is known fact that men and women who have small body frames tend to have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
  • Age: The older you get, the greater risk of osteoporosis.
  • Family history: Have a parent or sibling with osteoporosis can increase your risk, especially if your mother or father experienced a hip fracture. [6]
  • Your sex: It is known that women are having increased chances of developing osteoporosis compared to men. [1]
  • Race: If you are white or Asian descent, then you have increased chances of developing osteoporosis. [1]
  1. Hormone levels: This condition is more common in people who have too little or too much of certain hormones such as
  • Thyroid problems: When you have too much thyroid hormone, then it can cause bone loss. This can happen if someone’s thyroid is overactive or if they take too much thyroid hormone medication as their treatment for underactive thyroid. [7]
  • Sex hormones: Lowered sex hormones can lead to weaken bones. Women are having reduction of estrogen levels at menopause and men are having gradual reduction in testosterone levels as they age. [8]


[1] NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Osteoporosis and Asian American women. Retrieved from www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/background/asian-american-women

[2] Thulkar J, Singh S. Overview of research studies on osteoporosis in menopausal women since the last decade. Journal of Mid-life Health. 2015;6(3):104–7.

[3] Al-Bashaireh AM, Haddad LG, Weaver M, et al. The effect of tobacco smoking on bone mass: An overview of pathophysiologic mechanisms. Journal of Osteoporosis. 2018.

[4] Sampson HW. Alcohol and other factors affecting osteoporosis risk in women. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved from pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-4/292-298.htm

[5] Rodríguez-Gómez I, Mañas A, Losa-Reyna J, et al. Associations between sedentary time, physical activity and bone health among older people using compositional data analysis. PLoS One. 2018;13(10):e0206013.

[6] Bijelic R, Milicevic S, Balaban J. The influence of non-preventable risk factors on the development of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Materia Sociomedica. 2019;31(1):62–5.

[7] Dhanwal DK. Thyroid disorders and bone mineral metabolism. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011;15(Suppl2):S107–S112.

[8] Martin AC. Osteoporosis in men: A review of endogenous sex hormones and testosterone replacement therapy. Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2011.


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