Stop and think – has your Mum broken a hip? Does your dad have a curved spine? Did your grandmother lose height quite rapidly as she got older? These are all signs for osteoporosis and if they have experienced a broken bone, or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it can mean that your family has a history of osteoporosis or low bone density.
Understanding your family’s medical history is really important, because bone strength is strongly inherited. Having a parent who had osteoporosis, experienced fractures, lost height or had a stooped or curved spine indicates low bone density in your family and means you might be at greater risk of fractures.1
A study of 34,928 men and women looked at the effect of parental history of any fracture or hip fracture on the risk of fractures – it found that:2
In another study by Seeman et al, the bone density of postmenopausal osteoporotic women was compared to that of normal postmenopausal women. The bone density of the daughters from both groups was also compared.3
Take the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s OSTEOPOROSIS RISK CHECK to learn more about the risk factors for osteoporosis and to assess your individual risk.4 Access it here. Complete the short online test and take your results to your doctor to ask for a bone health assessment.
1 Osteoporosis Australia. What you need to know about Osteoporosis. Consumer guide. 2017. www.osteoporosis.org.au.
2 Kanis JA, et al. Bone 2004;35:1029–37.
3 Seeman E, et al. N Engl J Med 1989;320:554–58.
4 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis.Risk.Check. 2019. riskcheck.osteoporosis.foundation.