Skip to main content

D-SNP home page > Health tips & tools > Quiz: What’s your risk for osteoporosis?

Quiz: What’s your risk for osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is often associated with older women. But it can affect anyone at any age. Take this quick quiz to learn your risk and what you can do to keep your bones healthy.

Kate Rockwood By Kate Rockwood

Our bones are the unsung heroes of our bodies. They help us walk and move through life. But when we hit our late 20s, our bones are as strong and dense as they’ll ever be. In the years that come, we slowly start losing bone.1 Osteoporosis — a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break — is incredibly common as we get older. One in two women will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. So will up to one in four men.2

Unfortunately, bone loss can start sooner than you might think. Half of Americans over age 50 are at risk for breaking a bone due to low bone density, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.2 And in older people, fractures can lead to long-lasting problems. One study found that older people with hip fractures had a higher risk of death during the 10 years after their injury. Those who fractured other bones, such as the legs, had a higher risk of death for five years afterward.3

Thankfully, you’re not guaranteed to get osteoporosis, says Kristen Vealey, MD. She’s an internist at Illinois-based Duly Health and Care. “Many people believe that osteoporosis is a natural part of aging,” Dr. Vealey says. “This isn’t true. A healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a big impact.” Even people who do have osteoporosis can manage the condition by making healthy choices, Dr. Vealey says.2

Knowing your risk of osteoporosis is the first step toward keeping your bones healthy. It helps you see what you can do to have the biggest impact on preventing bone loss. To get started, take our simple quiz below.

1. Have you gone through menopause?

A: Yes
B: No

If you answered yes, your risk of developing osteoporosis is higher than that of both women who haven’t gone through menopause and men.4 That’s because during menopause, the female hormone estrogen falls to a very low level. Estrogen helps bones grow and stay strong.1,4 So when your levels drop, your bones may become more frail. That means you’re more prone to fractures and osteoporosis.4,5

To keep tabs on your bone health, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women 65 and older get a bone mineral density test. Women under 65 who are past menopause should also get tested if they have other risk factors. Your doctor can tell you what’s best for you. Testing is done every 15 years if bone mass is normal or you have only mild loss. You may need testing more often if your bone loss is greater.

2. Do you do weight-bearing activities as part of your exercise routine?

A: Yes
B: No

Skipping exercise or doing only activities where you’re off your feet (swimming, stretching or riding a bike, for example) puts your bones at higher risk for fracture. Why? Physical activity can slow bone loss, especially weight-bearing exercises in which your bones support your weight, such as:6

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Climbing stairs
  • Yardwork
  • Jogging
  • Low-impact aerobics

The reason it helps: Putting stress on your bones causes your body to build stronger, denser bones. It tells cells that build bones to get to work.7

“Aim for 20 to 40 minutes of weight-bearing exercise at least four days per week,” says rheumatologist Alan R. Schenk, M.D. He’s a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. But don’t stop doing things that help you stay flexible and build balance, such as stretching or yoga. They can help you stay steady on your feet so that you’re less likely to fall and break a bone.6

3. Do you smoke?

A: Yes
B: No

Add weaker bones to the long list of ways smoking can harm your body.4 Here are some of the ways smoking is bad for bones:8

  • It slows the flow of blood through your body. Blood carries oxygen that keeps bones healthy and helps them heal.
  • It hurts your ability to absorb calcium, which bones need to stay strong.
  • It breaks down estrogen, a hormone that helps build strong bones.
  • It slows the production of bone-building cells.

If you smoke, it’s best to quit as soon as possible for your bone health (and so much more).

4. Do you have a family history of fractures?

A: Yes
B: No

Osteoporosis tends to run in families. If you have a parent or sibling with osteoporosis, or a parent who fractured a hip, you’re at a higher risk than someone without that family history.4,5,9 If you inherited your mother’s delicate wrists, you may also be more likely to have weaker bones later in life. People with smaller frames are at higher risk for osteoporosis than people with other body types.4.5

5. Do you have any of the following?

A: Type 1 diabetes
B: Lupus
C: Rheumatoid arthritis

People with any of these autoimmune diseases have a higher risk for bone loss and osteoporosis. (These are conditions that cause the immune system to overreact to certain triggers, causing unpleasant, sometimes dangerous symptoms.) Medications used to treat those diseases, such as steroids, can sometimes speed up bone thinning as well.10,11,12

For these reasons, people with autoimmune diseases should talk to their doctors about being tested sooner. It can lead to earlier detection, says Dr. Vealey, and when necessary, early treatment. All of which can help you stay mobile well into your later years. 10,11,12

6. Do you eat a lot of foods that are high in calcium, such as dairy products, leafy greens and fortified cereals?

A: Yes
B: No

Calcium is key for healthy bones. Our bodies don’t make it, so it’s extra important to get enough from your diet. Aim for 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium daily, Dr. Schenk says. Also key: vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium. A simple blood test will help determine how much vitamin D you need. Talk to your doctor for advice on calcium and vitamin D.4,5


The takeaway

People with osteoporosis can lead healthy, active lives when they take proactive steps to protect their bones. Exercising regularly and eating well can keep your bones healthy. If you’ve already received an osteoporosis diagnosis, medications may help too. Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors and when to start screenings.2,5


1American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Healthy bones at every age. August 2021. Accessed June 13, 2022.

2National Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis fast facts. Accessed
June 13, 2022.

3Tran T, Bliuc D, Hansen L et al. Persistence of excess mortality following individual nonhip fractures: a relative survival analysis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. September 2018; 103(9): 3205-3214.

4Mayo Clinic. Osteoporosis. August 21, 2021. Accessed June 13, 2022.

5National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis overview. October 2019. Accessed June 13, 2022.

6Mayo Clinic. Exercising with osteoporosis: stay active the safe way. June 5, 2021. Accessed June 13, 2022.

7Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publishing. Slowing bone loss with weight-bearing exercise. April 11, 2021. Accessed June 13, 2022.

8Rush University System for Health. Bad to the bones. Accessed June 13, 2022.

9Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Does osteoporosis run in your family? May 18, 2020. Accessed June 13, 2022.

10National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What people with diabetes need to know about Osteoporosis. November 2018. Accessed June 13, 2022.

11National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What people with lupus need to know about Osteoporosis. November 2018. Accessed June 13, 2022.

12National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What people with rheumatoid arthritis need to know about osteoporosis. November 2018. Accessed June 13, 2022.


Request a call

Request a call with a licensed agent.


Call me