Menopause is the number one cause of osteoporosis. And the first four to eight years following menopause, women are more susceptible to osteoporosis due to a rapid loss of bone. Menopause increases bone loss, especially surgical menopause if the ovaries are removed, body size (small boned women are more susceptible), national origin (those of Asian and Caucasian decent have a higher risk of getting osteoporosis; but African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at a significant risk as well, family history of osteoporosis or fractures, prolonged use of certain medications, and sex (women have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis sooner than men because their bones are more dense then women). These risk factors can not be changed.
Risk factors a person can change include hormone levels (low estrogen for women and low testosterone in men), calcium and vitamin D intake, caffeine intake, excessive alcohol use, smoking, exercise, rest, and certain medications. It is important to be aware of these risk factors and make the appropriate changes to improve not only bone health but overall health.