What are the causes of osteoporosis and how to prevent it

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones and makes them brittle or brittle. This can significantly affect quality of life, either by altering lifestyle, increasing the number of hospital visits, and even leading to death.

It is common to believe that osteoporosis is a natural part of aging, but the truth is that it can be avoided by following a series of measures. Here we tell you which ones, as well as the main causes of this condition.

Our bones are in a constant state of renewal. This process is faster when we are young, from the age of 20 it slows down and it is estimated that approximately at the age of 30 we reach maximum bone mass.

Osteoporosis is often linked to age, since as we age bone tissue begins to be lost. Therefore, the probability of suffering from this disease will depend on the bone mass developed during youth.

Certain factors can influence the appearance of osteoporosis, we are going to rest them:


In this case, diet is a fundamental cause, since a diet low in calcium contributes to a decrease in bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.

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Extreme food restriction, low weight, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking also weaken bones in both men and women.

Another aspect that influences bone health is a sedentary lifestyle. People who spend a lot of time sitting or not doing regular physical activity have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than those who are more active.

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heredity and genetics

Having a family member with osteoporosis, especially if they have had hip fractures, increases the risk of osteoporosis.

This condition is also common in men or women with small body frames, as they tend to have less bone mass to renew as they age.

Hormonal production and balance is another risk factor for osteoporosis. As the specialists explain, if the levels of thyroid hormone are high (this can happen if your thyroid is overactive or if you take medications to treat an underactive thyroid) the risk of osteoporosis is higher.

Additionally, osteoporosis has been associated with overactivity of the parathyroid and adrenal glands.


Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, although this does not mean that the latter are out of danger. There are even studies that found that young men are more likely to break than their female peers.

The difference in the risk of suffering from osteoporosis according to sex responds to the fact that low levels of sexual hormones tend to weaken the bones. This can be seen, for example, with the drop in estrogen levels that women experience during menopause.

An increased chance of bone loss may also be experienced in men undergoing prostate cancer treatments (lower testosterone levels) or women undergoing breast cancer treatments (lower estrogen levels).

Medications and conditions

Another factor that can interfere with the bone turnover process is long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone and cortisone.

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Other medications that can be harmful to bone health in excess include those used to fight or prevent cancer, seizures, or reflux.

Some medical conditions can also promote osteoporosis:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cancer.
  • Celiac Disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Kidney or liver disease.
  • Lupus.
  • Multiple myeloma.

How to avoid osteoporosis?

Take into account the following measures to prevent the development of osteoporosis:

Healthy nutrition

Getting enough calcium from food is important to keep your bones strong and prevent conditions like osteoporosis. You can get this mineral by incorporating the following options into your diet:

  • Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, or walnuts.
  • Orange juice.
  • Dairy products: milk, cheese or yogurt.
  • Vegetables: chickpea, lentil or soy.
  • Seafood: shrimp, mussels or oysters.
  • Fish: salmon, sardine or trout.
  • green leafy vegetables: Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or kale.

Vitamin D is also important for bone health, as it helps the body use calcium from the diet. In addition, fruits, vegetables and grains provide other key minerals for bone health, such as phosphorus, magnesium or potassium.

Keep in mind that other habits, such as consuming alcohol in excess or smoking, can favor the appearance of osteoporosis, since they make it difficult for the body to absorb calcium.

watch your weight

Being overweight or obese can mean a problem for your bones, since, as has been proven, they are conditions that increase the risk of fractures, especially in the arms and wrists.

Being underweight is also a problem and increases the chance of osteoporosis, particularly in women, as menstrual periods often stop when they are underweight and this causes hormonal disturbances.

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Remember, maintaining a correct weight is good for your bones, as well as your overall health.

exercise regularly

Just like our muscles, bones get and stay stronger through daily exercise, so sedentary people are at higher risk of osteoporosis.

Resorting to training that includes work with weights is a good option to strengthen the bones. If these activities are too intense for you, you can try walking, bicycling, swimming, or aerobics.


As we noted, some conditions, such as celiac disease or cancer, as well as the use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis.

It is important to talk with your doctor to develop prevention strategies that take these factors into account. You can also consult him about medications for osteoporosis, capable of increasing bone density by a small percentage per year.

Finally, although youth is not usually a time when one considers their future health, experts say that a good way to prevent osteoporosis is to think about bone health from a young age.

This will help to adopt healthy habits at an early stage, to build a good amount of bone mass and avoid any future complications. Remember, it’s never too late to incorporate healthy habits that take care of your bones.

Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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