Common causes of bone loss include vitamin D and calcium deficiencies, old age, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, alcoholism, and certain medications, according to Consumer Health Digest. Certain diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and hyperthyroidism, are linked to bone loss.
Several types of cancer, sickle cell disease and organ transplants are also associated with osteoporosis, states Consumer Health Digest. Additionally, conditions like multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, low testosterone or estrogen levels, and diabetes increase the risk of bone loss.
The body is continuously breaking down old bone cells and making new ones, a process called resorption. Bone loss is the result of an imbalance in this process in which old bones are broken down faster than new ones are built, explains Consumer Health Digest. Bone loss is the cause of osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is less than average but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis.
Methods for preventing bone loss include making sure there is plenty of calcium and vitamin D in the diet, getting at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, and avoiding cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol and carbonated soft drinks. Exercises that are recommended for maintaining healthy bones include yoga, dancing, jogging, tai chi and water aerobics, according to WebMD.