DefinitionOsteoporosis is a disease marked by decreasing bone mass and density, making bones weak and brittle. If left unchecked, it can lead to fracture . Any bone can be affected. Fractures of special concern are of the hip , spine , and wrist .
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CausesOsteoporosis is caused by an imbalance between bone loss and bone formation (known as bone remodeling). After age 30, bone loss occurs more quickly. Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence bone remodeling.
Risk FactorsOsteoporosis is more likely to occur if full bone mass was not achieved during your bone-building years. It is more common in women than in men. Other factors that may increase your chance of osteoporosis include:
- Increasing age
- Low weight
- Alcohol abuse
- History of falls
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Postmenopausal status
- Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic ethnicity
- Certain health conditions, such as:
- Certain medications, such as antidepressants, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or long-term use of heparin or proton-pump inhibitors
- Low hormone levels (low estrogen levels in women, low testosterone levels in men)
- Inactive lifestyle
- Certain restrictive diets that may result in a deficit of calcium or vitamin D
- Too little sunlight (the effect of sun on the skin is a primary source of vitamin D)
- Certain cancers, including lymphoma and multiple myeloma
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