What are the common causes of osteoporosis?

The risk factor of developing osteoporosis is high for the elderly and for females. At age 90, roughly 50% of females have developed osteoporosis compared to 15% of males.

Common causes include:

• Smoking;
• Menopause;
• High alcohol consumption (an excess of 14 drinks for women, 21 drinks for men per week);
• Starvation (anorexia nervosa);
• Excessive athletic exercise; and
• Hereditary factors.

Osteoporosis is usually divided into primary and secondary osteoporosis.

Primary osteoporosis means that it is the primary disease and can be divided into type I and type II osteoporosis. Type I osteoporosis is due to postmenopausal (or andropausal) bone changes. It occurs because of a lack of estrogen in women or testosterone in males. It affects those aged 50 to 75 and leads to fractures of the radius close to the wrists (Colles’ fractures) or the tibia (ankle fractures). Type II osteoporosis occurs beyond age 60 and affects the femoral neck (hip fractures), upper arm and upper discount oakley tibia bones, the vertebral bodies, and the pelvic bone.

With secondary osteoporosis there is another primary cause that causes the osteoporosis. In other words, osteoporosis is only a symptom of another underlying disease, which affects bone metabolism. Primary causes include endocrine, gastrointestinal, or rheumatological problems, cancer, or drug use.

Here is an example of an osteoporotic bone.

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