Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Excessive bone loss occurs more often in certain groups of people. Your risk of developing osteoporosis is higher if you

  • are female
  • are an older adult
  • have a family history of osteoporosis
  • have a thin or small frame
  • have completed menopause
  • are Caucasian or Asian
  • have had a fracture as an adult
  • have a parent with hip fracture

Other factors that may increase your risk of bone loss include

  • amenorrhea (missing menstrual periods)
  • anorexia nervosa
  • an inactive lifestyle
  • a diet low in calcium or vitamin D
  • low testosterone (hypogonadism)
  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • certain medications, including some anti-seizure medications, large doses of thyroid hormone, steroids, or some drugs used to treat prostate cancer
  • certain hormonal conditions (described above)


Jens Bollerslev, MD
Rikshospitalet Medical Clinic

Steven T. Harris, MD
UC San Francisco

Dolores Shoback, MD
UC San Francisco/VA Medical Cente

Last Review: May 2013