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Am I at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Am I at Risk for Osteoporosis?

About 10 million people in the United States have osteoporosis, which makes your bones weak and prone to breaking. There are some risk factors that you can’t control, but there are some things you can do to improve your bone health and lower the likelihood you’ll develop osteoporosis. 

At Downtown Pain Management, Dr. Ron Ben-Meir and his staff have helped patients with osteoporosis develop pain management plans, but we would much prefer to see our patients live without the risks that come with fragile bones. In this post, we discuss risk factors for osteoporosis as well as what you can do to mitigate your own risk. 

Your bones

Bones aren’t just static pieces of architecture holding your body up. Instead, they are living tissue, in a constant state of renewal. Old bone tissue is broken down and new tissue takes its place. Until your 20s, the creation of new bone tissue outpaces the disposal of old bone tissue, and your bone mass increases. 

You probably reached your peak bone mass in your 30s. After that, the process reverses, and you begin to lose bone tissue faster than you regenerate it, and your bones begin to lose mass. 

One of the risk factors for osteoporosis involves how much bone mass you had at your peak. Many factors influence peak bone mass. 

Risks that you can’t change

When it comes to risk mitigation, there are some things you can’t change. For example, you have no control over your genetic makeup, and that plays a role in how likely or not you are to develop osteoporosis. Your sex, race, age, and the size of your body frame are other risk factors that you can’t control. 

Far more women than men are diagnosed with osteoporosis, so being a woman automatically increases your risk. Similarly, white and Asian women are more likely to develop brittle bones than women of other races, as are women with smaller frames. 

Another risk factor you can’t control -- though you may want to very much -- is your age. The older you are, the more risk you have. That’s because you continue to lose bone mass from your peak until your death.

Women who have passed menopause are also at greater risk, largely because after menopause your body produces less estrogen which seems to have a protective effect on your bones. 

Some medical conditions increase your risk of osteoporosis, such as thyroid disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. Certain medications are also associated with osteoporosis, like steroids. 

Risk factors you can control

Your diet is probably within your control, so you can make sure that you eat a plentiful amount of fruits and vegetables. You should also consume calcium and vitamin D supplements if you need them. Discuss your levels with your doctor and work to make sure they are adequate. 

Depending on your other risk factors you may need to limit the amount of protein you eat. Sodium and caffeine aren’t good for bone health, so work to reduce your consumption. 

Smoking is bad for your bones, just as it’s bad for so many elements of good health. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. 

If you’re overweight, work to reach and maintain a healthy weight, which can improve bone health. It’s also helpful to be active each day. Walking is excellent for bone health, as are weight-bearing exercises. 

If you have questions about your personal risk when it comes to osteoporosis or you’d like more information on what you can do to lower the chance of developing it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ben-Meir. He’s happy to talk about your specific situation and make recommendations. 

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