Osteoporosis – Patient Education Overview

Osteoporosis is the weakening of the bone by demineralization which thereby increases the chance of bone fractures. It can be detected by measuring the density of the bones. At age 30, bones have reached their maximum density and strength. Read more in this patient education guide.

Calcium and Vitamin D are critical for postmenopausal women and can prevent osteoporosis from occurring. While bone density is mainly determined by genetics, lifestyle can also alter your bone density and increase your risk for osteoporosis.

Controllable Risks/Habits

Uncontrollable Risks

Smoking tobaccoLow calcium consumption

Excessive alcohol usage

Long-term use of steroids

Long-term use of drugs such as:

    • Methotrexate
    • Certain anti-depressants
    • Antacids containing aluminum
    • Some epileptic treatments

Eating disorders

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia


Small body frame (body mass index equal or less than 19)Age (your risk increases with getting older)

Race (Asians have a higher rate)

Gender (females have double the risk of osteoporosis)

Family history (immediate family members increase risk)

Overactive thyroid or excessive thyroid hormone intake

Conditions lowering calcium absorption including:

  • Celiac disease – when the small intestine lining is damaged, making absorption of important foods and nutrients difficult, especially gluten
  • Crohn’s disease – a type of bowel inflammation, usually of the intestine but anywhere in the digestive tract
  • Cushing’s disease – a condition of overactive adrenal glands causing prolonged release of cortisol hormone to body tissues
  • Hyperparathyroidism – excessive activity of the parathyroid glands from PTH (parathyroid hormone)


Written by Barbara Hales,  MD

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