Ask the Experts- February 2020

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: February 11, 2020

Dear Red Hot Mamas,

I’m pretty active and work out practically every day. But I am concerned about osteoporosis since my mother developed it when she was in her 70’s. How can I tell if I am at risk for osteoporosis?


Dear Belinda,

Although some risk factors are beyond your control (unchangeable), others you can do something to prevent osteoporosis from occurring.

Unchangeable Risk Factors:Race/ethnicity – being Caucasian or Asian increases your risk especially if you are fair skinned.

Family history – If your mother, grandmother, sibling has had osteoporosis you are at greater risk

Body frame size – If you are thin, petite, small boned you are at greater risk.

Age – The older you get, the more your risk for osteoporosis.

Other Risk Factors:

Early menopause or missed periods –

Estrogen builds and maintains bones. As you enter menopause, or if you have had your ovaries removed, you are at greater risk.

Lifestyle Choices:

Having an eating disorder – Puts you at greater risk

Excessive exercise – So intense that it causes you to skip periods puts you at greater risk.

Poor diet – which is low in calcium and/or protein puts you at greater risk.

Tobacco use – creates lower bone mass and puts you at greater risk.

Sedentary lifestyle – lack of weight bearing exercise puts you at greater risk

Heavy caffeine intake– may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis

Excessive alcohol intake – is linked with low bone mass and heighted bone loss

Medical conditions that can contribute to developing osteoporosis: Celiac disease; inflammatory bowel disease; kidney or liver disease; cancer; lupus; multiple myeloma; rheumatoid arthritis

Steroids and other medications: such as corticosteroid medications, antiepileptic drugs, anticoagulants, anti-reflux, diuretics and others which may also put you at risk.

It’s prudent that you discuss these risk factors with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may recommend a baseline bone density exam (DEXA) especially if you have any of these risk factors.