Both men and women are at risk for osteoporosis, particularly as they age. However women represent about 80% of all cases, accounting for an estimated 8 million diagnoses in the U.S. Because they are at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis, women should be especially careful to get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diets and exercise on a regular basis.
Post-menopausal women are at a special risk for osteoporosis. During menopause, levels of the hormone estrogen fall. Low estrogen levels cause calcium to be depleted from the bones quickly, creating fragile bones. During menopause, estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) may be used to counteract this effect. Because this hormone therapy may increase the risk of blood clots and some cancers, doctors and patients should carefully evaluate the pros and cons of using estrogen replacement to prevent osteoporosis.