The risk of getting osteoporosis increases with age as bones naturally become thinner. After age 30, the rate at which your bone tissue dissolves and is absorbed by the body slowly increases, while the rate of bone building decreases. So overall you lose a small amount of bone each year after age 30.
In women, bone loss is more rapid and usually begins after monthly menstrual periods stop, when a woman's production of the hormone estrogen slows down (usually between the ages of 45 and 55). A man's bone thinning typically starts to develop gradually when his production of the hormone testosterone slows down, at about 45 to 50 years of age. Women typically have smaller and lighter bones than men. As a result, women develop osteoporosis far more often than men. Osteoporosis usually does not have a noticeable effect on people until they are 60 or older.
Whether a person develops osteoporosis depends on the thickness of the bones (bone density) in early life, as well as health, diet, and physical activity later in life. Factors that increase the risk for osteoporosis in both men and women include:
Other risk factors for osteoporosis may include:
Women who have completed menopause have the greatest risk for osteoporosis because their levels of the estrogen hormone drop. Estrogen protects women from bone loss. Likewise, women who no longer have menstrual periods—either because their ovaries are not working properly or because their ovaries have been surgically removed—also can have lower estrogen levels.
Papaioannou A, et al. (2010). 2010 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada: Summary. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(17): 1864–1873. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.100771. Accessed October 28, 2014.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineBrian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerCarla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Current as ofJanuary 11, 2018
Current as of: January 11, 2018
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
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