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The risk of getting
osteoporosis increases with age as bones naturally
become thinner. After age 30, the rate at which your bone tissue dissolves and
is absorbed by the body slowly increases, while the rate of bone building
decreases. So overall you lose a small amount of bone
each year after age 30.
In women, bone loss is more rapid and usually begins after monthly
menstrual periods stop, when a woman's production of the hormone
estrogen slows down (usually between the ages of 45
and 55). A man's bone thinning typically starts to develop gradually when his
production of the hormone testosterone slows down, at about 45 to 50 years of
age. Women typically have smaller and lighter bones than men. As a result,
women develop osteoporosis far more often than men. Osteoporosis usually does
not have a noticeable effect on people until they are 60 or older.
Whether a person develops osteoporosis depends on the thickness of the
bones (bone density) in early life, as well as health, diet,
and physical activity later in life. Factors that increase the risk for
osteoporosis in both men and women include:
Other risk factors for osteoporosis may include:
Women who have completed
menopause have the greatest risk for osteoporosis
because their levels of the
estrogen hormone drop. Estrogen protects women from
bone loss. Likewise, women who no longer have menstrual periods—either because
ovaries are not working properly or because their
ovaries have been surgically removed—also can have lower estrogen
Current as of:
November 6, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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