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Ethel S. Siris, MD

Ethel S. Siris, MD, is the Madeline C. Stabile Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and the Director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center of the Columbia University Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, all in New York, New York. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College, Harvard University, and received her medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. An endocrinologist, she works as a clinician, as a clinical investigator and as a medical educator, all in the area of metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis and Paget's disease of bone. In her career she has participated in research activities with bisphosphonates, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) and RANKL inhibitors. Dr. Siris served as the Medical Director of NORA, the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment, a public health initiative and longitudinal study of osteoporosis that included over 200,000 postmenopausal women in the US. Most recently her research activity has focused both on risk factors for osteoporosis and treatment adherence with osteoporosis medications.

Dr. Siris is the immediate past president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Osteoporosis Foundation in the US and the International Osteoporosis Foundation. She is also a member and former vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Paget Foundation for Paget's Disease of Bone and Related Disorders. She has previously served on the Council of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and on the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration. She has published widely in the medical literature and is co-editor of the book, The Bone and Mineral Manual. Dr. Siris has been interviewed frequently on both television and radio and is often quoted in print media regarding osteoporosis.

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Female doctor is introducing an elderly Asian female patient about bone diseases and treatment method and medicine details.

Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis

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Who is at risk for osteoporosis?


The vast majority of individuals affected by osteoporosis are women. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) estimates as many as 8 million women and 2 million men in the United States have osteoporosis.

Although the disease can occur at any age, women are at greatest risk for osteoporosis in the years after menopause. As many as 52 percent of non-Hispanic Caucasian and Asian women age 50 years and older have low bone mass, increasing their risk for osteoporosis. A major reason for this is that women's bodies produce very little estrogen after menopause, and estrogen plays an important role in helping to prevent bone loss.

The average age for menopause in the United States is 51, but some women experience menopause earlier due to natural causes or following surgery, illness or treatments that destroy the ovaries. For example, a total hysterectomy in which the ovaries and uterus are removed will immediately trigger menopause.

Other common risk factors for osteoporosis are: age—your risk for fractures increases as you go from your 50s to 60s to 70s and older; small, thin frame (weighing less than 127 pounds); personal and/or family history of broken bones as people age, especially a history of spine or hip fractures in an elderly parent; previous history of fractures after age 45; low lifetime intake of calcium; excessive thinness; smoking; excessive alcohol consumption; inactive lifestyle; estrogen deficiency caused by menopause and certain medical conditions such as anorexia nervosa; prolonged absence of menstrual periods as a young woman; long-term use of corticosteroids and some anticonvulsants; Caucasian or Asian ethnic backgrounds, but older African-Americans and Hispanic Americans are also at significant risk; certain chronic medical conditions including diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and some bowel diseases that cause poor absorption of calcium or vitamin D; depression; and long-term use of proton pump inhibitors.

To learn more about osteoporosis and preventing broken bones, visit

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