What will increase my chances of osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition which affects the bones, causing them to become more fragile and brittle than normal bone. Their brittleness means osteoporotic bones are also more likely to fracture. It occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. It’s a relatively common condition, affecting over 1 million Australians.1 So, what makes osteoporosis so prevalent and is there anything that can be done to reduce the occurrence of osteoporosis? Fortunately, the answer is yes. In order to understand how, it’s important to know the risk factors for osteoporosis and what could increase your chances of developing the condition.

The first set of risk factors for osteoporosis are known as unchangeable risk factors, as there is very little one can do to change them. These include:2

  • Your sex: women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.
  • Age: older individuals are more prone to the condition.
  • Race: Caucasian and Asian people are more at risk.
  • Family history: people with close family members who have osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from it also.
  • Body frame: small framed people have a higher risk.

Risk factors that you have control over include dietary factors and lifestyle choices. People who have a low intake of calcium over their lifetime are more likely to develop osteoporosis. This is because a lack of calcium contributes to reduced bone density, bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. Lifestyle choices that make you more prone to weak bones include having a sedentary lifestyle, consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol and tobacco use.2