Your bones are, quite literally, the framework of your body. Even though you’ve got 206 of them, a single broken bone can have long-lasting, debilitating effects on your health and wellness. The odds of you breaking a bone increase dramatically if you suffer from osteoporosis. Though you might hear people with osteoporosis say they have “thin” bones, it really refers to a decrease in bone density, not size. Could you be at risk for osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Not everybody has the same chances of developing osteoporosis. Since planning and prevention are key factors in managing this illness, it pays to educate yourself about your risk factors. Though our understanding of this condition becomes better all the time, these are some of the most important factors that have been identified.
Fixed risk factors
Some risk factors are out of your control. Even so, it is important to know how high your risk is. Some of the biggest fixed risk factors are:
- Gender plays a significant role in your bone density. Physiologic differences in women make them more at risk than men are. In fact, about 80 percent of those diagnosed are women.
- Age plays a large role, as well. Since your body’s ability to replace lost bone tissue decreases over time, your risks will increase as you age.
- Family history. If a close family member has been diagnosed, there’s a good chance you might share the same genetic tendency. Think about getting a bone density test.
Controllable risk factors
There’s good news! Not all of the risk factors are beyond your control. Many of your decisions can raise or lower your chances of developing osteoporosis.
- Hormone levels change over time, and they play an important role in women’s bone health. While many hormones are important, thyroid hormones and sex hormones are critical for proper bone density. Fortunately, medications and supplements are available to help manage your hormone levels.
- Diet. Your body is constantly replacing bone tissue. If you don’t eat enough basic bone-building material, your bones will become frail and brittle. Calcium is especially important, but a lack of any of the essential minerals will affect the process.
- Exercise isn’t just good for muscle strength. Your body responds to the physical stress of exercise by sending extra resources to your skeleton, leading to stronger bones over time.
Do you think there’s a chance you might suffer from osteoporosis? Why not find out where you stand? A bone density scan will give you a definitive answer. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule an appointment to get started as soon as possible.