Osteoporosis | Causes & Risk Factors


What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

The following things put you at an increased risk for osteoporosis. The more of the following that apply to you, the higher your risk. Talk to your family doctor about your risk factors.

  • Early menopause (before age 45)
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Surgery to remove ovaries before menopause
  • Fair skin (caucasian or Asian race)
  • Not getting enough calcium
  • Sedentary lifestyle (not getting enough exercise)
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
  • Thin body and small bone frame
  • Hyperthyroidism, either from an overactive thyroid or from taking too much medicine to treat hypothyroidism.
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids, which are medicines prescribed to treat inflammation, pain and chronic conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/11
Created: 01/96