Osteoporosis: Causes Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by Mehrnaz Maleki, MD (July 01, 2019) Some people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others. Factors that increase the chance of developing osteoporosis are called "risk factors." What are the causes of osteoporosis? Risk factors include: Being female Having a thin and/or small frame Getting older Having a family member with osteoporosis Leading an inactive lifestyle Eating a diet low in calcium and vitamin D Using alcohol on a regular basis Smoking tobacco Going through menopause Low testosterone levels (in men) Being of Caucasian or Asian ancestry, though African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at risk as well Using certain medicines, such as corticosteroids and anti-seizure medications Having a medical condition that impairs calcium absorption, such as disorders of the stomach and intestines, liver or kidney Osteoporosis: Diagnosis Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.