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Osteoporosis: Are You at Risk?

The term ‘osteoporosis’ literally means “porous bones”. Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to severely weakened bones, thereby increasing the risk of fractures. It is a progressive disease that generally affects people over the age of 30. It is characterized by the increased loss of bone mass leading to decreased bone strength.

The main factors that increase your likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:

1. Age:
The risk of developing osteoporosis increases with age. Maximum bone density and strength are reached at the age of 30. After this bone mass naturally starts to decline.

2. Gender:
Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis then men, and are four times more likely to be affected. Women are more susceptible because they have lighter, thinner bones and live longer then men.

3. Ethnicity:
Research has shown that people of Asian or Caucasian descent are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

4. Family History:
Heredity is one of the major factors in determining an individuals’ risk of developing osteoporosis. Having a parent or grandparent suffering from or displaying signs of osteoporosis, such as fractured hip after a minor fall, puts you at greater risk.

5. Bone Structure:
Bone structure and body weight also influence the onset of osteoporosis. Petite and thin individuals are more likely to get osteoporosis then people with larger frames and higher body weight.

6. Smoking and Alcohol Abuse:
Heavy smoking and drinking increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. It can lead to thinning of bones and therefore increase the likelihood of fractures.

7. Sedentary Lifestyle:
People who put in long sitting hours are more likely to get osteoporosis as compared to those who are active. Making exercise a regular part of your life can go a long way in keeping the condition at bay.

8. Certain Diseases:
A number of diseases lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is one such disease.

Apart from the factors mentioned above, the use of certain medicines can heighten one’s risk of developing the disease. For instance, the long-term use of steroids has been linked to osteoporosis. Consult your health care provider to better understand your risks.

 

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