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Osteoporosis: Causes, Dos, Don’ts, And More


Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone mass decreases leading to thinning or weakening of the bones.

This causes breaks, fractures (broken bones), and deformities. It occurs when the body does not have enough healthy bone material to maintain and rebuild itself.

Bones are constantly being broken down and built up to replace old bone tissue and restore balance.

When an imbalance occurs, it affects the structure of the bone, and this often leads to fractures which is a loss of bone structure.

The more bone that is lost, the more likely you are to experience a fracture. Osteoporosis has many causes including –

  • Lack of calcium or vitamin D in your diet
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Age over 50 with little exercise
  • Disease that weakens bones like rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disorders

There are also certain lifestyle and environmental factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

How Does Osteoporosis Happen?

Osteoporotic fractures occur[1] when small breaks occur in bones that consist primarily of cancellous or spongy bone tissue (rather than compact bone).

These breaks allow the bone to weaken, resulting in bone fractures. There are many different types of bone fractures, the most common being a vertebral fracture, which occurs when one or more vertebrae break and are pushed out of place.

Fractures may also occur in other bones in the body such as ribs and humeri (upper arms).

The phrase “breaking a little bone” refers to a vertebral fracture, which occurs every time a person loses height due to a fracture of one vertebra.

As people are living longer and, therefore, are suffering from the effects of aging. It is also suspected that this epidemic may have a connection to the use of estrogens after menopause.

Women who are past the age of menopause and have estrogen replacement therapy[2] have been found to have significantly lower levels of bone loss than women who have not used hormone replacement.

Surprising Facts About Osteoporosis

  1. It Doesn’t Just Affect Women

    Young men are more likely to have osteoporosis than their female counterparts.

    Due to the increased diagnosis of high-stress fractures in teenage boys and men over the age of 50, the CDC[3] now estimates that young men are just as likely to suffer from osteoporosis as young women.

    What does this mean? It means that men need to be aware of their bone health just as much as women do.

    Especially if they have a family history of osteoporosis or suffer from other related diseases such as kidney disease.

    Luckily, early prevention could help increase bone mass, helping to reverse the effects of osteoporosis and keeping bones healthy for a longer period.

  2. Being Thin Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Don’t Have Osteoporosis

    One of the most surprising things about osteoporosis is that it can affect someone at any body weight.

    That’s right— this study[4] shows that being very thin doesn’t completely protect people from the disease!

    Osteoporosis and other health issues caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D are more common in people with eating disorders.

    As these people mostly have low body weight and follow vegetarian diets or/and restrictive eating patterns like binge/purge or orthorexia Nervosa, as per this study[5].

  3. Medications May Cause Low Calcium Levels

    If you’re experiencing symptoms of low calcium levels or osteoporosis it is important to consider the drugs that you are taking and how they might affect your bone health.

    Antibiotics, acid-blockers[6], steroid medications, and even some chemotherapy drugs[7] may increase the risk of bone loss.

    If you take any of these medications and experience a general decline in bone health, consider talking to your doctor about switching medications or switching to an alternative treatment.

  4. Other Fact To Consider

    • Over 20 million Americans have osteoporosis.
    • Bone deterioration[8] begins in childhood with 10% of children having brittle bones by age 9.
    • On average, people who die from complications due to osteoporosis are 60 years old or older while those who die from cancer tend to be younger than 50 years old.
    • Osteoporosis is the most common cause of bone fractures in women.
    • The neck is the most commonly broken bone, due to the head weight.
    • In 1 out of 4 women, osteoporosis will lead to a broken hip by age 65.
    • The risk of breaking bones increases as people get older.
    • Bone density decreases[9] in men, but not in women after age 50.

Natural Ways To Prevent Osteoporosis

If you have osteoporosis, you must take steps to maintain your bone density. One of the best ways to do this is by making sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.

Certain medications, such as[10] bisphosphonates and estrogen-progesterone therapy also help ward off bone loss.

But there are also many natural ways to prevent osteoporosis if you’re at risk of developing it in the future. Read on for tips on preventing bone loss and protecting your bones.

  • Have A Healthy, Balanced Diet

    You should try to eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Foods containing these nutrients include dairy products, sardines, salmon, egg yolks, and spinach.

    If you can’t get enough calcium and vitamin D out of the natural foods you eat, take a daily supplement that contains both nutrients[11].

    The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams per day for adults between 19 and 50 years old and 1,200 milligrams per day if you’re over 50.

    If you have a condition that puts you at greater risk of osteoporosis—such as endometriosis or irritable bowel syndrome—you should take two grams of vitamin D per day.

    Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common[12] in people with Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) and irritable bowel syndrome.

    You can get vitamin D from foods, such as salmon, mackerel, and eggs.

    But if your gut symptoms prevent you from absorbing those foods properly, you might want to switch to supplements.

  • Maintain A Healthy Weight

    A body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

    If you’re at risk of developing osteoporosis, your doctor may recommend[13] that you aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. 

    If weight loss is difficult for you, try taking regular walks or participating in another form of regular exercise.

    Physical activity will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk[14] of osteoporosis and the bone fractures associated with it.

Also, Consider:

  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
  • Have milk products each day for one serving or less if you’re lactose intolerant.
  • Limit calcium supplements to 500 mg or less per day because too much may cause kidney stones.
  • Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat days.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about calcium supplements. You may need to take supplements depending on your age, diet, and exercise level.
  • Stay away from alcohol because it can cause the body to lose more bone mass than usual. Alcohol also does not improve[15] bone health in people with osteoporosis already in their bones.
  • Women with osteoporosis should take estrogen, a hormone produced by the ovaries that normally declines after menopause. Estrogen is used to help maintain[16] bone density and prevent bone fractures.
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause a bone disease called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

What Not To Do If You Have Osteoporosis?

  1. Don’t stop exercising if you’re an active person or think that exercise is the only way for osteogenesis (the formation of new bone) to occur. It’s important for women who aren’t physically active to make sure they get plenty of calcium from their diet and other sources to maintain bone density.
  2. Don’t start smoking if you’ve never smoked before. This is because tobacco products are associated[17] with increased mortality in patients with osteoporosis, and there isn’t any proof that they’ll prevent the disease.
  3. Don’t refuse to take a supplement with calcium or vitamin D in it if you’re worried about your bones weakening further. Doing so can only increase your risk of developing the disease even more.
  4. Take care of your body by eating healthily and drinking plenty of water, and also make sure to use a bone density test to check whether or not your bone mass is decreasing as you age.
  5. Don’t go for knee replacements just because you already have osteoporosis. If you have plans to undergo the surgery, it’s important to check with your doctor first, especially if you have other illnesses or conditions requiring regular medical attention.
  6. Don’t forget that many things can contribute to osteoporosis besides the aforementioned things, such as hormone imbalances resulting from certain treatments and genetics.

If you’re concerned about your way of life and health in general, visit your doctor! It’s not easy to diagnose or treat osteoporosis without proper treatment.


Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone tissue that leads to an increased risk of fractures. It is a common disease in both men and women.

It can have serious effects on the life of those with this syndrome, including pain and disability as well as social and economic problems.

However, with proper care and treatment osteoporosis can be treated. It is also necessary to follow the advice of your doctor and take your medication on time.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Osteoporosis Last Reviewed: October 2019 Available from: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoporosis
  2. Amanda Valdes; Tushar Bajaj. Estrogen Therapy Last Update: July 19, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541051/
  3. Does Osteoporosis Run in Your Family? Page last reviewed: May 20, 2022 Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/osteoporosis.htm
  4. Kofi Asomaning, Elizabeth R Bertone-Johnson, Philip C Nasca, et al. The association between body mass index and osteoporosis in patients referred for a bone mineral density examination J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2006 Nov;15(9):1028-34. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2006.15.1028. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17125421/
  5. Jeremy Steinman and Amal Shibli-Rahhal Anorexia Nervosa and Osteoporosis: Pathophysiology and Treatment J Bone Metab. 2019 Aug; 26(3): 133–143.Published online 2019 Aug 31. doi: 10.11005/jbm.2019.26.3.133
  6. Elaine W. Yu, Terri Blackwell, Kristine E. Ensrud, et al. Acid-Suppressive Medications and Risk of Bone Loss and Fracture in Older Adults Running Title: Acid-Suppressive Drugs: Bone Loss & Fracture Risk Calcif Tissue Int. 2008 Oct; 83(4): 251–259.Published online 2008 Sep 24. doi: 10.1007/s00223-008-9170-1
  7. Theresa A Guise Bone loss and fracture risk associated with cancer therapy Oncologist. 2006 Nov-Dec;11(10):1121-31. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.11-10-1121. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17110632/
  8. Osteoporosis in children Reviewed on: 31-03-2017 Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis-in-children
  9. Osteoporosis in Men Last Reviewed2018-10 Available from: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men
  10. J Christopher Gallagher and Sri Harsha Tella Prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jul; 142: 155–170.Published online 2013 Oct 29. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.09.008
  11. John A Sunyecz The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 Aug; 4(4): 827–836.Published online 2008 Aug. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.s3552
  12. Jane Fletcher, Sheldon C. Cooper, Subrata Ghosh, et al. The Role of Vitamin D in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Mechanism to Management Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1019.Published online 2019 May 7. doi: 10.3390/nu11051019
  13. Ji Hyun Lee, Jung Hee Kim, A Ram Hong, et al. Optimal body mass index for minimizing the risk for osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes Korean J Intern Med. 2020 Nov; 35(6): 1432–1442.Published online 2019 Oct 30. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2018.223
  14. 7Lifestyle Approaches to Promote Bone Health Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45523/
  15. H. Wayne Sampson Alcohol and Other Factors Affecting Osteoporosis Risk in Women Prepared: June 2003 Available from: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-4/292-298.htm
  16. V A Levin , X Jiang, R Kagan Estrogen therapy for osteoporosis in the modern era Osteoporos Int. 2018 May;29(5):1049-1055. doi: 10.1007/s00198-018-4414-z. Epub 2018 Mar 8. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29520604/
  17. V Yoon , N M Maalouf, K Sakhaee The effects of smoking on bone metabolism Osteoporos Int. 2012 Aug;23(8):2081-92. doi: 10.1007/s00198-012-1940-y. Epub 2012 Feb 21. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22349964/

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