What causes osteoporosis?

Bones are living tissue that are changing all the time, being built up and worn down. How strong your bones are depends on the balance of these changes.

From the time you are born until you are about 30 years old, the bone building activity happens more than the wearing down activity. Maximum bone health is called “peak bone mass.” After 30, the bone building process becomes slower than the wearing down process, so that bone is slowly lost as you become older. In women, after the menopause, the loss of estrogen increases the bone loss even more. For this reason women suffer osteoporosis more than men. The problem is most severe in women who undergo an early menopause (before age 45) or in women who have had their ovaries surgically removed.

Other conditions that can lead to osteoporosis are:

  • No regular exercise plan
  • Diet low in calcium and associated minerals
  • Less than 10 minutes of sunlight per day and no vitamin D supplements taken
  • More than 4 cups of coffee per day
  • More than seven alcoholic drinks per week on average
  • A current or former smoker
  • Low animal protein intake
  • A lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet
  • Some medications may also cause bone loss. Ask your physician