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 common in older adults. It is more common in women than in men. People of Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic ethnicity are more likely to get osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more likely to occur if full bone mass was not achieved during your bone-building years. Other factors that may increase your chance of osteoporosis include:
- Low weight
- Alcohol abuse
- History of falls
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Postmenopausal status
- 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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