4 Common Causes of Osteoporosis

May 14, 2020

Osteoporosis causes weak bones that have a high risk of fracture. It often affects the spine and hips, but any bone suffers from osteoporosis. Even if the bones do not break, this condition can cause severe pain and limited mobility. If you are worried about your bone health or if you think you may already have osteoporosis, check out these four common causes.

1. Sedentary Lifestyle

Being too sedentary is one of the most dangerous choices you can make for your health, including your bone health. Dense bones are less likely to develop osteoporosis, and one way your bones stay dense is with weight-bearing exercises, like running, walking, or jogging. Therefore, if you sit too much, you do not get the exercise you need to keep your bones strong.

Similarly, people with sedentary lifestyles tend to have extra fat, which can worsen the symptoms of osteoporosis by forcing the joints to carry more weight. Therefore, even if you already have osteoporosis, consider talking to your doctor about starting an exercise program.

2. Poor Diet

A poor diet may also increase the amount of body fat you have, making your symptoms worse, but a poor diet can also lead to weak bones. A bone-healthy diet has lots of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is a mineral that actually helps strengthen your bones. Adults need between 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Foods high in calcium include dairy products, kale, broccoli, and almonds.

However, in order for your body to actually absorb the calcium, you need plenty of vitamin D too. Adults should have about 600 international units a day of vitamin D. Foods high in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs. Another common source of vitamin D is the sun, so getting out on a sunny day may help too.

3. Medications

Some medications actually affect your bone density. One common medication that can lead to osteoporosis is synthetic glucocorticoids, which are types of steroids. These medications actually affect the bone-forming cells, making them less effective. At the same time, the medication promotes the cells that break down bone to work harder.

Medications for breast and prostate cancer also affect the bones. Aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer reduce estrogen levels, which leads to bone loss. Prostate cancer treatments like androgen deprivation therapy require removal of the source of the male sex hormone, leading to bone loss.

Other medications that may promote bone loss are related to heartburn, thyroid hormone replacement, anti-seizure, blood pressure, and diuretics.

4. Age

Finally, the older you get, your risk of osteoporosis naturally rises. Some of this is because of your lifestyle choices and medications. If you have lived a sedentary lifestyle your entire life, the older you get, the weaker your bones become. However, even if you take great care of your bones, bone loss is natural as you age.

Your body naturally creates and re-absorbs bone cells. However, as you get older, your body becomes less effective at creating new bone cells. Meanwhile, cells still get re-absorbed into the body at a normal rate. For this reason, older people should get active and healthy to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures.

Bones tend to get weaker as you age, but as long as you exercise and eat a healthy diet, you should be able to protect yourself from osteoporosis. Without treatment, osteoporosis can worsen, leading to a stooped back, limited mobility, and chronic pain. If you would like to know more about osteoporosis or if you need to start treatment for your osteoporosis, contact us at Sarasota Arthritis Center today.

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