What causes osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when your body absorbs more bone than it produces. Eventually, the bones lose density, become weak, and are increasingly prone to fractures. There are several other factors that can contribute to or hasten the onset of the disease.
 
 
Diet
Certain foods and nutrients promote health bone growth, while others don’t.
 
  • Nutrients that are essential for healthy bones include:
  • Calcium: mineral necessary for bone growth and maintenance
  • Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium
  • Other vitamins and minerals: Magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, vitamin B, and vitamin B12 also support bone health. 
* You likely get enough of these nutrients from the food you eat, but if you do not eat a balanced diet, you should talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin or supplement. *
 
  • Nutrients that may harm your bones when taken in very large amounts:
  • Protein is essential to a healthy diet, but a diet high in animal protein may cause calcium loss.
  • High caffeine intake (more than 4 cups of coffee per day) inhibits calcium absorption and leads to calcium loss through the urine.
  • Sodium in excess amounts causes loss of calcium through the kidneys.
* In most cases, it wouldn’t be healthy to completely remove these foods and nutrients from your diet, but they should be consumed in moderation. *
 
 
 
Exercise is key to defending oneself against osteoporosis. Exercise builds and maintains strong bones. If you are inactive, your bones are likely weaker than they should be. This can leave you more susceptible to fractures.
 
 
 
Low sex hormones 
When women reach menopause (usually between age 45-55), their estrogen levels drop significantly. Estrogen is important to new bone production because it supports osteoblasts – which are bone producing cells. Without estrogen, osteoblasts are overpowered by osteoclasts (bone-absorbing cells). In men, testosterone protects bone. When testosterone levels drop, it can lead to bone loss.
 
 
 
Certain medical conditions can lead to osteoporosis, such as:
 
  • Kidney disease
  • Parathyroid and thyroid problems
 
 
Certain medications may cause osteoporosis. These don’t need to be avoided - some may be vital for other conditions - but extra care should be taken to avoid bone loss while they are prescribed. Medications that may contribute to bone loss include:
 
  • Glucocorticoids: strong medications to relieve inflammation (cortisone and prednisone)
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): these medications are used for a variety of conditions, including indigestion and GERD.
  • Coumadin: used for blood thinning
 
 
Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Consumption
 
 
osteoporosis causes
 
 

Sources:
  • “Learn What Osteoporosis Is and What It's Caused By.” National Osteoporosis Foundation, www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/.
  • Emedicinehealth.com, www.emedicinehealth.com/osteoporosis/page2_em.htm.
  • Taylor, Rebecca Buffum. “What Causes Osteoporosis? And Why?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/causes#1.
  • “Osteoporosis Causes.” EndocrineWeb, www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/osteoporosis/osteoporosis-causes.

 

From Our Blog: Menopause - 8 Common Symptoms & Solutions

Menopause happens because the woman’s ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Lower hormone levels may lead to uncomfortable symptoms. With the production of very low levels of hormones, the body’s response to certain situations may be different than what one is used to. Although it also ends fertility, you can stay healthy, vital and sexual. Here are some tips to help manage some of the most common menopause symptoms:

menopause - 8 common symptoms & solutions


 

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