The greater factors that can increase the probability of you developing osteoporosis include being a small, thin or lean body frame female; early menopause; family history of osteoporosis; absence or low intake of dairy products within your diet and/or other sources of calcium and vitamin D; sedentary lifestyle habits; Caucasian or Asian race; and the use of certain prescription medications to treat asthma, arthritis, hypothyroidism and seizure disorders, gastrointestinal diseases; and other lifestyle choices such as smoking; excessive use of alcohol; and simply increasing in age.

In Depth – Risk factors

A number of factors can increase the chance that you will develop osteoporosis — some you have control of and others you do not.

Risk factors you can change

Tobacco use: Researchers do know that tobacco use contributes to weak bones, but the exact part tobacco plays in osteoporosis isn’t clearly defined.

Low calcium intake: Low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. An absence of calcium for the duration of your life plays a major role in the development of osteoporosis.

Sedentary lifestyle: Studies show that living a sedentary life without regular activityhave a higher risk of osteoporosis than more-active individuals. Load-bearing movement is beneficial for your bones, preferably with self-applied force for safety and maximum bone growth. It has been cited that walking, running, jumping, dancing and weightlifting seem particularly helpful for creating healthy bones.

Excessive alcohol consumption: As in many diseases, regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of osteoporosis, as researchers believe alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to properly absorb calcium.

Eating disorders: Studies show that individuals with anorexia nervosa or bulimia are at higher risk of lower bone density in both women and men.

Corticosteroid medications: Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, used long-term is damaging to bone tissue. These medications are common treatments for chronic conditions, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and you may not be able to stop taking them to lessen your risk of osteoporosis. Your bone density should be monitored on a regular basis by your physician if it is necessary that you take these types of medications long-term.

Other medications: Other medications that cause issue with bone density are antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, the cancer treatment drug methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications, the acid-blocking drugs called proton pump inhibitors and aluminum-containing antacids are all associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Risk factors you cannot change

Being a woman: You are almost twice as likely to suffer a fracture from osteoporosis if you are a woman.

Race: You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.

Aging: The more we age, the greater our risk of osteoporosis.

Family history: Genetics almost always play a major role in our chances of have a particular disease. Parents and siblings with osteoporosis put you at a greater risk and your risk increases if you have family history of fractures.

Frame size: Individuals thatare exceptionally thin (with a body mass index BMI of 19 or less) or have small body frames typically run a higher risk because they simply have less bone mass to lose as they age.

Thyroid hormone: Excessive thyroid hormone can also increase bone loss. This may occur because you take excess amounts of thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or because your thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism).

Medical conditions and procedures that affect bone health. Our society is now experiencing the highest rate of bariatric surgeries than ever before and this can have an impact on your body’s ability to absorb calcium and other minerals essential to good bone health. So can conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, hyperparathyroidism and Cushing’s disease — a rare disorder in which your adrenal glands produce excessive corticosteroid hormones.