Dr. Ethel Siris shares her knowledge and explains osteoporosis risk factors.
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There are great many risk factors for osteoporosis and when we talk about risk factors there are different kinds of categories. If I am visiting with a 50-year-old woman who has just become menopausal recently and we talk about her risk factors, we ask questions such as the following: “Did you ever break a bone as an adult? If you’ve already had a fracture after say age 40, that’s a risk factor for future fractures.” “Are you a smoker? Smoking is bad for lots of things including osteoporosis.” “Do you drink a lot of alcohol, more than three drinks a day? That’s a risk factor.” Having a smaller frame is something of a risk factor. Your bones are already smaller to begin with, if your mother or your father ever broke a hip that’s a big risk factor for you and there are lots of medical disorders as well as medications which can be risk factors. So the list of risk factors is really pretty long but the biggest ones are ‘have you had a previous fracture as an adult? What’s your bone density?’ If your bone density is low that’s a risk factor, and how old are you. So for example, the older you are, 60, 70, 80, 90… the greater your risk for osteoporosis and fractures than when you’re 50 and you’re just beginning to lose bone.