What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

Dr Alan Gaby MD

In this, our first in a series of short features on bone health, Dr Alan Gaby summarises the common risk factors for developing thin bones. Sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol or caffeine intake, high intake of carbonated beverages (especially colas), and a positive family history all increase the risk of developing the disease. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive lung disease, hyperadrenalism, and hyperparathyroidism, are all associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. Some medications accelerate bone loss; these include anticonvulsants, glucocorticoids (prednisone and others), anticoagulants, aluminum-containing antacids, and loop diuretics.

Other osteoporosis related articles of interest:

A bony issue – December 2008 posting describing the lifestyle changes associated with healthy bones.


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