Osteoporosis: Risk Factors and Symptoms

| Dr. Kristen Reed

Osteoporosis is defined as a degenerative, metabolic bone disorder that manifests in adulthood1. Studies show that 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass.1 It is a serious and silent disease that is responsible for 2 million broken bones and $19 billion in related costs every year.1 There are a few different risk factors that increase your chances of osteoporosis, which can be both uncontrollable and/or controllable. These include the following.1,2


  • Being over age 50
  • Being female
  • Menopause
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low body weight/being small and thin
  • Broken bones or height loss


  • Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in diet
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • Getting too much sodium and caffeine in diet
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Losing too much weight

In many cases, the first signs of osteoporosis include breaking a bone, getting shorter, or upper back curving forward and it can lead to the following issues1,3:

  • Chronic pain
  • Spinal deformity
  • Decreased function and mobility
  • Decreased lung capacity
  • Loss of activities of daily living
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gait and balance problems
    • This leads to increased risk for falls and subsequent osteoporotic fractures
  • Fractures may limit mobility which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression

Therapy can address all these issues by reducing pain, providing education on proper body mechanics to improve posture and lung function, increasing independence with activities of daily living, improving strength and balance to reduce risk for falls, providing fall prevention education to reduce risk for fractures, increasing bone mineral density, and improving cardiovascular function.

Many of the risk factors and symptoms can be addressed with proper diet and exercise. If you are concerned about osteoporosis or have been diagnosed with low bone density, contact Live Your Life to determine what services are available to address your needs!

Dr. Kristen Reed

Dr. Kristen Reed
LYL Physical Therapist

Dr. Kristen Reed, DPT, GRS, CLT graduated in 2011 from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.S. in Kinesiology degree. She went on to graduate with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from St. Catherine University (2015) and completed the Geriatric Clinical Residency program from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in 2016. She has spent her career working with primarily geriatrics in the Transitional Care/ Memory Care/ Long Term Care settings. Dr, Reed loves working with geriatrics and is passionate about helping them improve their quality of life. She loves being a therapist and watching her clients reach their goals.

She is kept busy with her husband and young daughter. She enjoys spending time with friends and family as much as possible. Her favorite activities are hiking in the summer and downhill skiing in the winter.


  1. National Osteoporosis Foundation, January 2019, https://www.nof.org/ 
  2. Burke-Doe, Annie; Hudson, Angela; Werth, Heather; Riordan, Deborah. “Knowledge of Osteoporosis Risk Factors and Prevalence of Risk Factors for Osteoporosis, Falls and Fracture in Functionally Independent Older Adults” Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, Vol. 31; 1:08, pp 11-17.
  3. Heitzman, J. “Musculoskeletal system: Age-related Changes and Common Problems” FOCUS:Geriatric Physical Therapy, 2006, 7-8
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