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Who Is at Risk for Developing Osteoporosis?

Women are at greatest risk for developing osteoporosis, although men may develop it as well. Osteoporosis is suspected if there has already been a fracture with little or no trauma, or if any of the following risk factors are present:

  • Estrogen deficiency from early menopause (before age 45, either natural or surgical) or no period for a long time (months to a year)
  • Personal history of fracture (broken bone) as an adult
  • Family history of osteoporosis or bone fracture
  • Small thin frame and/or low body weight (less than 127 lbs)
  • Low intake of calcium (avoidance of dairy products)
  • Immobilization or lack of exercise
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Other medical problems--such as thyroid and parathyroid conditions, digestive problems, eating disorders, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer, and paralysis
  • Use of certain medications--such as steroids, thyroid hormone, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, and diuretics
  • While osteoporosis can occur in anyone, it is more common in Caucasian and Asian women.

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