Is Osteoporosis Hereditary?

This article will outline the definition of osteoporosis and osteopenia, list at risk groups including addressing  the question is osteoporosis hereditary?’ and what measures you can take to prevent these condition from worsening.

How is osteoporosis defined?

Osteoporosis is defined as a condition with a low mineral content in the bones.   To reach a diagnosis of osteoporosis you would undertake a bone density scan and have a result of less than -2.5. A score of this level would make the bones fragile and that risk of incurring a fracture.

How is osteopenia defined?

Osteopenia diagnosis would mean that your bone density scan result produced a score of -1 to -2.5.  A normal bone density mineral content score would be greater than -1.0

Who is at risk of developing osteoporosis or osteopenia and is osteoporosis hereditary?

Women over 50 years of age

Post-menopausal women

Men over 70 years of age

People using certain prescription medications including anti-convulsants, testosterone inhibitors and corticosteroids

  • Smokers
  • Alcoholics and heavy drinkers
  • Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers
  • People with chronic kidney disease
  • People with anorexia or bulimia
  • Women with an irregular menstrual cycle
  • Women who have had a hysterectomy
  • People leading a non-active lifestyle over a long period
  • People who have had  chemotherapy treatment
  • People with a relative diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • People who have had an inadequate diet over a long period

So as you can see from the list, the answer to the question  ‘ is osteoporosis hereditary’ is  yes, however, there are many other risk factors.

What measures can one take to prevent osteoporosis from worsening or osteopenia developing into osteoporosis?

Eat a calcium rich diet including the following food groups:

Dairy products such as cheese, yoghurts, milk, and cream

Oily fish including salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies

Fruits and vegetables including sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnip, fresh and dried herbs, peas, spinach, oranges, tomatoes and raisins

Nuts including almonds, macademia,walnuts, pistachio, hazelnuts, cashew, peanuts and pecans

Calcium fortified tofu

What  foods should I avoid?

Salt, canned soups, processed meats such as bacon, sausages, burgers, diet and regular sodas

What activities should I participate in true build up my bone mineral density?

Walking, climbing stairs, jogging, swimming, yoga, aerobics, Pilates, tai-chi and cycling.  If you already have a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis you must ensure that these exercises are not so strenuous that they cause damage to the joints.

I note  the answer to the question of ‘is osteoporosis hereditary’ .  Does this mean that if I have a family member with either of these conditions that I will invariably develop osteopenia or osteoporosis when I am older?

No, it is not inevitable that someone with a family member with either osteoporosis or osteopenia developsthe condition in their advanced years. However, it is extremely important that the aforementioned recommendations are consistently pursued.

Is there anything else I can do if I come under the hereditary at risk group?

Yes, you should ensure that you have regular bone density mineral scans, if you diet is inadequate in calcium, take calcium and vitamins D supplement preferably containing calcium citrate as this is the most easy  form of calcium for the digestive system. Get daily exposure to sunlight. Do not smoke and drink alcohol in moderation.

Is osteoporosis hereditary in all racial groups?

Yes osteoporosis and osteopenia can be found in men and women from any racial background, however, Caucasian women are at higher risk than men and other racial groups.

Is  osteoporosis hereditary in men?

Yes, butmen are at less risk than women.

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