Osteoporosis affects over 10 million Americans over the age of 50. Women are 4 times more likely to get osteoporosis than men.
Another 34 million Americans over the age of 50 have low bone mass (osteopenia). This group is at a greater risk for osteoporosis.
Low estrogen is one of the main causes of bone loss in women during and after menopause. Women may lose up to 20% of their bone mass in the 5 to 7 years after menopause.
The exact cause for osteoporosis is unknown. But, a number of factors contribute to the disease including:
- aging - bones become less dense and weaker with age.
- race - Caucasian and Asian women are most at risk, but all races may get the disease
- body weight - people who weigh less and have less muscle are more at risk for this condition
- lifestyle factors - these lifestyle factors may increase the risk of osteoporosis:
- lack of physical activity
- caffeine use
- excessive alcohol use
- dietary calcium and vitamin D deficiency
- certain medications
- family history of bone disease