Your bones can become brittle and fragile if you have osteoporosis. Be it men or women, it can affect anyone. But according to the National Health Service, women are at a higher risk of developing this condition than men. That’s because the hormone changes that happen during the menopause phase affects bone density. As per NHS, the female hormone oestrogen is very important for healthy bones. During menopause, oestrogen levels drop, and this can lead to decrease in bone density. That’s not it. There are medical conditions that can increase your risk of osteoporosis! On World Osteoporosis Day, which falls on October 20, let’s explore the link between medical conditions and osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
It is a medical condition in which the bones become weak due to a decrease in bone mass and density, explains Dr Sunilkumar Singh, consultant, rheumatology surgeon, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai. The bones become so brittle that they become more susceptible to fractures. As we grow older, our bones naturally lose density, but in osteoporosis, this loss is accelerated and can lead to increased risk of fractures, especially in the spine, hip and wrist.
Medical conditions that increase risk of osteoporosis
Several medical conditions or diseases can increase the risk of osteoporosis. These include:
1. Rheumatoid arthritis
It is an autoimmune disorder that mostly targets your joints. Chronic inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can lead to bone loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
It is condition that happens when the thyroid gland produces way too much thyroid hormone. Excess thyroid hormone can speed up bone loss, making the bones weaker and more prone to fractures, says the expert.
3. Celiac disease
Another autoimmune disorder, celiac disease is where eating gluten can lead to damage in the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential nutrients for bone health.
4. Chronic kidney disease
The kidneys play an important role in balancing calcium and phosphate in the body. When kidney function is compromised, it can lead to imbalances that affect bone density.
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5. Eating disorders
Be it bulimia or anorexia nervosa, eating disorders can lead to malnutrition, affecting your bone health. A lack of essential nutrients can result in decreased bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Ways to prevent osteoporosis
Preventing osteoporosis involves a combination of lifestyle choices as well as medical interventions.
Consuming a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is crucial for strong bones. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables and fortified foods are good sources of calcium, while exposure to sunlight and adding fatty fish to the diet can provide vitamin D.
Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging and resistance training can help to maintain bone density and strength.
3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which are bad habits, can decrease bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
4. Limiting caffeine and sodium
Excessive caffeine and sodium can interfere with calcium absorption. You don’t have to quit having them. Just consume them in moderation.
5. Bone density testing
Bone density tests can help to detect early signs of bone loss. This will allow doctors to make timely intervention.
Doctors may prescribe medicines to prevent or treat osteoporosis. They work in various ways such as slowing bone loss or increasing bone formation.
You should consult with a doctor if you feel you have a high chance of developing osteoporosis.