Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is osteoporosis hereditary?"
My grandmother found out she has osteoporosis. I know it has to do with her bones, but what is it? Is it a disease? Could I get it because she had it, like does it run in the fam?
Osteoporosis is a disease of bones where the bone density can be reduced. This can increase the risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is more common in women, mainly in postmenopausal women. Another form of osteoporosis is due to medication (chronic use of steroids) and can therefore occur at any time. There are several risk factors for osteoporosis: female gender, older age, low estrogen levels, low Vitamin D levels, smoking, poor nutrition and family history. Research has found that there are several genes that are associated with osteoporosis, and therefore, osteoporosis can be hereditary, and family members are are increased risk of developing the disease. Given that a family member has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is important that you see a doctor to determine your risk factors and come up with a treatment plan as a preventative measure. Generally screening is recommended for all women over 65 years of age, and you may or may not meet screening criteria, but the doctor can definitely suggest preventative measures. Obtaining a higher peak bone density with proper exercise and good nutrition with proper levels of calcium and vitamin D is essential. Depending on your clinical situation and age, the doctor may suggest some testing and even medication if your vitamin levels are low. I would recommend seeing a doctor to further discuss your risk factors and to develop a treatment strategy.
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