Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?

  • Spring 2019

Did you know one in three women and one in five men over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime? Osteoporosis weakens bones, leads to fractures and causes severe disability, but it can be detected early and treated. 

Answer the following questions to help determine your risk.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors - What You Cannot Change

Have either of your parents been diagnosed with osteoporosis or broken a bone after a minor fall from standing height or less? 

Did either of your parents have a stooped back (dowager’s hump)? 

Are you 40 years old or older? 

Have you ever broken a bone after a minor fall as an adult?

Do you fall frequently (more than once in the last year) or do you have a fear of falling because you are frail? 

After age 40, have you lost over an inch in height (more than 3 cm)?

Are you underweight with a BMI less than 18.5 (you can find a BMI calculator online)?

Have you ever taken corticosteroid tablets (cortisone, prednisone, etc.) for more than three consecutive months? 

Have you ever been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? 

Have you been diagnosed with an over-active thyroid, overactive parathyroid glands, Type 1 diabetes or a nutritional/gastrointestinal disorder such as Crohn’s or celiac disease?

For Women:

If you’re over 45, did menopause occur before age 45? 

Have your periods ever stopped for 12 consecutive months or more (other than because of pregnancy, menopause or hysterectomy)? 

Were your ovaries removed before age 50 without you taking hormone replacement therapy? 

For Men:

Have you ever suffered from impotence, lack of libido or other symptoms related to low testosterone levels? 

Lifestyle Risk Factors - What You Can Change

Do you regularly drink alcohol in excess of safe drinking limits (more than two units a day)? 

Do you currently, or have you ever, smoked cigarettes?

Is your daily level of physical activity less than 30 minutes per day (housework, gardening, walking, running, etc.)? 

Do you avoid, or are you allergic to, milk or dairy products without taking any calcium supplements?

Do you spend less than 10 minutes per day outdoors with part of your body exposed to sunlight without taking vitamin D supplements?

Answering “yes” to one or more of these questions does not mean you have osteoporosis. If you answered “yes” to several of these questions, please discuss your bone health with your primary care provider. He or she can refer you for a bone density scan at Brookings Health System. Learn more about osteoporosis screening at