The risk of osteoporosis increases with age. Even if you have no other clinical risk factors, if you are a woman aged 60 years or over, or a man aged 70 years or over, you should discuss bone health at your next check-up.
If you've broken a bone after a minor fall (from standing height), it may be because of osteoporosis. One broken bone is a major risk factor for a new fracture, with the highest risk in the following two years.
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Your replies suggest that you may have major risk factors for osteoporosis and fractures. We encourage you to ask for a bone health assessment and to discuss strategies to reduce your risk for osteoporosis-related fractures with your doctor.
A Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 19 kg/m2 (equivalent to 19 lbs/in2) is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Being underweight can lead to lower oestrogen levels in girls and women, similar to after menopause, which may contribute to the development of osteoporosis. At the same time, frail people are at higher risk of fracture.
Height loss of more than 4 cm (1.5 in) as an adult is often caused by spine fractures due to osteoporosis. Not all spine fractures are painful, which means that sometimes people don’t know they have them.
If your parents had a hip fracture, you may be at higher risk of developing osteoporosis and having a fracture. If either of your parents had a stooped back or there is a strong family history of osteoporosis, this could also be a sign that you are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
Some medical disorders are linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This is know as secondary osteoporosis. Some conditions can also increase the risk of falling, which can lead to fractures.
Long-term use of certain treatments can increase bone loss, leading to an increased risk of fracture. Some treatments also increase the risk of falls, which can result in broken bones.
Drinking too much alcohol impacts negatively on bone health and can also lead to frequent falls, which increases the risk of fractures.
Whether you’re a current smoker, or have smoked in the past, you should be aware that smoking has a negative impact on bone health.