What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Risk factors for osteoporosis, such as advanced age and reduced bone mineral density (BMD), have been established by virtue of their direct and strong relationship to the incidence of fractures; however, many other factors have been considered risk factors based on their relationship to BMD as a surrogate indicator of osteoporosis.

Risk factors for osteoporosis include the following [62, 63, 64] :

  • Advanced age (≥50 years)
  • Female sex
  • White or Asian ethnicity
  • Genetic factors, such as a family history of osteoporosis
  • Thin build or small stature (eg, bodyweight less than 127 lb [57.6 kg])
  • Amenorrhea
  • Late menarche
  • Early menopause
  • Postmenopausal state
  • Physical inactivity or immobilization [65]
  • Use of certain drugs (eg, anticonvulsants, systemic steroids, thyroid supplements, heparin, chemotherapeutic agents, insulin)
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Androgen [66] or estrogen deficiency
  • Calcium or vitamin D deficiency
  • Dowager hump

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