How many risk factors are affecting your bone health right now?

If you’re like most women, you may be aware of a few of your risk factors, like age, menopause or family history. Maybe these risk factors have left you feeling a little frightened and helpless to the risks of osteoporosis and bone loss. If you have a moderate or high risk of fracture, you may feel like bone density drugs are your only option to prevent fractures, despite your apprehension about their side effects.

We’re happy to tell you that for every risk factor you can’t change, there is at least one that you can change — and many of these may surprise you. And no matter what your risk of fracture or the current state of your bone health, you can build denser, stronger bones — without drugs.

This may be a message you haven’t heard before. But we have helped thousands of women dial down their risk of fracture, and you can too. So let’s start by understanding your risk factors and what they really mean for your bone health.

Your risk is not your destiny

When you have a lot of risk factors, or just a few strong risk factors, it’s easy to feel like you’re doomed for problems with your bone health — especially with all the frightening statistics about bone health and fracture that we see in the media.

But the statistics on lifetime fracture risk project what might happen if you do nothing to improve your bone health. On the other hand, when you take advantage of the many opportunities to support your bones, you will reduce your odds of a fracture.

When women are concerned about their bones, we always remind them that their risk factors did not develop overnight. In fact, you’ve been living with them for quite some time and haven’t fractured yet. So take heart. Being at risk for a certain event does not cause it to occur. It simply means you should be aware of your body’s unique needs.

If you have already had a fracture, don’t be dismayed. It’s never too late to improve the health of your bones. You may have to work a little harder at it because of your starting point, but we promise you it’s possible to build bone regardless of your current bone health status.

Wisdom to know the difference

There are some risk factors you can’t change, and others you can. Worrying about the former won’t help your health — in fact, that extra stress will have the opposite effect. And if you make decisions about your health out of fear, you’re less likely to make the best long-term choices for your bones.

Many women go their entire lives with a very high risk of fracture, and yet never break a bone. The key is to take advantage of the many opportunities to improve your bone health that exist, and leave the rest behind.

So simply let go of the risk factors you can’t change — and let’s learn how to take control of the ones you can.