Scientists don’t yet know exactly about osteoporosis causes, but they do know that the normal bone remodeling process is disrupted.
Your bone strength and density is partly due to how much calcium and other minerals they contain. Your body is constantly making new bone and breaking down (reabsorbing) old bone. When you are young, this process happens quickly. You make more bone than you lose, so you build bone mass. After your mid-30s, your body continues to make new bone, but more slowly, so that you lose more bone than you make. The amount of bone you have in your 30s helps determine your risk of developing osteoporosis later.
The leading causes of osteoporosis are a drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a drop in testosterone in men. Women over age 50 and men over age 70 have a higher risk for osteoporosis.
Other factors that may cause osteoporosis include:
- Chronic rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) for long periods of time
- Drinking a large amount of alcohol/alcoholism
- Taking corticosteroid medications (prednisone, methylprednisolone) every day for more than 3 months, or taking some antiseizure drugs
- Family history of osteoporosis
- History of hormone treatment for prostate cancer or breast cancer
- Low body weight
- Too little calcium in the diet
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