According to WebMD, osteoporosis can be caused by low estrogen levels in women, lack of calcium or vitamin D, a sedentary lifestyle, various thyroid conditions, smoking, too much alcohol, and certain medical conditions and medications. It is usually a combination of these that causes bone loss and thinning of the bones. In men, osteoporosis can also be caused by low testosterone levels.
Mayo Clinic defines osteoporosis as a condition in which bone loss outpaces the creation of new bones. Although it can develop in anyone, postmenopausal white and Asian women are at higher risk. The likelihood of developing osteoporosis is dependent on how much bone mass is created in youth, and in most people, this peaks during their early 20s.
During the early stages of osteoporosis, Mayo Clinic describes symptoms as few, but once significant bone loss has occurred, patients display back pain, loss of height over time and stooped posture and are more likely to develop bone fractures. To prevent complications from osteoporosis, Mayo Clinic suggests being very careful not to fall, paying attention to slippery areas like the shower and even installing grab bars in dangerous zones. Hip fractures from a fall can result in disability or even death, while spinal fractures can occur even if patients do not fall.