Am I Too Young for Osteoporosis?

Dec 13, 2023
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You’re correct if you believe osteoporosis is more common over 50, but it can also affect teens and young adults. And what you do in your 20s can affect bone density in your 50s. Read about protecting bone health at any age.

Osteoporosis is characterized by weak and brittle bones that are susceptible to fractures. When you have severe osteoporosis, even bumping against a countertop can fracture a wrist or hip. And while it's true that this condition is more common in older adults, osteoporosis isn’t exclusively an age-related ailment.

Sagi Jacob Cohen, MD, and Nathan Alyesh, MD, provide excellent medical services for chronic conditions like osteoporosis at Calabasas Medicine Group in Calabasas, California. We’re also interested in preventing the health consequences of disease with individualized strategies that promote wellness.

Here, discover the facts about osteoporosis and our team’s tips for protecting your bones at any age.   

Understanding osteoporosis

Even after you reach full skeletal maturity (between ages 18 and 25), your bones undergo a process called remodeling, when the body reabsorbs old bone tissue and replaces it with new. Remodeling helps maintain bone density and strength.

By age 35, you’re losing more bone tissue than your body can rebuild, which eventually causes bones to weaken. Typically a slow process, osteoporosis occurs when the density of your bones is reduced enough that they become fragile and prone to fractures.

Risk factors for osteoporosis in younger individuals

While this condition is more common in older individuals, several factors can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis at a younger age.

Family history

A family history of osteoporosis can significantly increase your risk, regardless of age.

Lifestyle choices

Smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and a sedentary lifestyle increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Poor diet

Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake can hinder proper bone development. Young individuals with poor dietary habits, especially those who follow restrictive diets, may be at risk.

Hormonal imbalances

Certain medical conditions, like thyroid disorders or other hormone-related problems, can interfere with your body's ability to build and maintain healthy bones.


Some medications, such as corticosteroids, can weaken bones over time.

Chronic illness

Conditions like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or eating disorders can impair nutrient absorption, affecting bone health.

Low body weight

Being underweight can reduce bone density and increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Preventing osteoporosis

The good news is that you can minimize and maybe prevent the impact of osteoporosis by making smart lifestyle choices and with early detection.

Here's what you can do:

Maintain a balanced diet

Ensure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D through foods or supplements if necessary. Note that vitamin D makes it possible for your body to absorb calcium, so supplements should include the correct balance of both.

A bone-friendly diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Our Calabasas Medicine Group team also recommends limiting salt to about 2,300 mg daily (approximately one teaspoon) because sodium increases the calcium your kidneys excrete via urine. 

Fortunately, bone-healthy nutrition also helps prevent heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, and other diet-related ailments.

Exercise regularly

Weight-bearing exercises and strength training are vital for building and maintaining strong bones. A fast-paced walk offers significant health benefits. If you prefer running, balance your workout with walking a couple of days a week to protect your joints.

Develop healthy habits

Smoking cessation, consuming alcohol in moderation, and other healthy habits can protect your bones and overall well-being.

Schedule a visit

If you have risk factors or concerns about osteoporosis, our team can help. Depending on your age and other factors, we may recommend a bone density scan to evaluate your current bone health. If you’re diagnosed with osteoporosis, we can create a treatment plan that helps slow its progression and prevents future fractures.

Regardless of your age, our team also offers you guidance on managing risk factors and creating a strategy to prioritize your well-being and overall health. Focusing on your bone health in your 20s, 30s, and 40s can help prevent health complications in your 50s and beyond.

Schedule your evaluation by calling Calabasas Medicine Group or requesting an appointment online today.