Bone health deteriorates with age, but this process can be accelerated by many diseases with negative effects on the bone system.
Whether it’s the condition itself or the drugs with dangerous side effects, it’s important to know how you can protect your bones and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Conditions that can cause bone disease
- Other medical conditions that are dangerous to bone health
- Factors influencing bone health
Conditions that can cause bone disease
Thyroid disorders, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are among the main conditions that significantly increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, a systemic disease characterized by damage to the architecture of the skeletal system, which can lead to increased bone fragility and the risk of fractures.
Diabetes is currently associated with an increased risk of hip fractures, which is why scientists and endocrinologists recommend that diabetics, in addition to keeping their blood sugar levels under control, be concerned with preventing falls and other physical trauma.
Other endocrine disorders associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis are
- Hyperthyroidism. There is an excessive level of thyroid hormones in the body, either due to the fact that the thyroid gland is hyperactive or due to the misuse of medication to treat thyroid disorders.
- Hyperparathyroidism. There is too high a level of parathyroid hormone in the body, accelerating the process of reducing bone mass.
- Drug abuse that blocks the production of sex hormones.
- Long-term use of medroxyprogesterone acetate, a contraceptive injection.
- Hormonal disorders. Irregular menstrual cycle that affects estrogen levels in the body, late onset of menstruation, early onset of menopause, etc.
Proper absorption of calcium and other nutrients in the body is essential for bone health, so all gastrointestinal disorders that prevent this process are possible causes of osteoporosis.
Blood and bone marrow disorders can result in bone fragility. An eloquent example in this case is multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside the bones where blood cells grow.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and long-term treatment with glucocorticoids (cortisone, prednisone, etc.) are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
Because glucocorticoid therapy is often used to control the inflammation that people with asthma suffer from, this respiratory disease is also on the list of conditions that can increase the predisposition to reduce bone density.
Other medical conditions that are dangerous to bone health
- Anorexia nervosa. This condition deprives the body of essential nutrients and can temporarily stop menstruation.
- Bed rest. Exercise is important for bone health, so any disease involving immobility can be a risk factor for osteoporosis.
- Oncological treatment. Some oncological drugs, such as tamoxifen, can affect the structure and density of the bone system.
- Organ transplantation. Some medications that prevent the patient’s body from rejecting a transplanted organ have been shown to be harmful to bone strength.
Factors influencing bone health
The skeletal system undergoes continuous changes, the old bone tissues being permanently replaced with new ones. In the first years of life, this regeneration is accelerated, the bone mass being in a constant process of growth, until the age of 30 years.
This is followed by a progressive loss of bone density, so the risk of developing osteoporosis varies depending on how quickly the bone mass decreases. The factors that influence bone health throughout life are as follows.
- Lifestyle. While genetic factors play an important role in determining bone density, diet and physical activity make the difference between a strong and a fragile bone system.
- Daily calcium intake. An insufficient daily dose of this essential mineral leads to bone damage over time.
- Daily intake of vitamin D. Bone health depends on the amount of vitamin D in the body, as it helps the absorption and use of calcium.
- The movement. Physical activity helps to increase and maintain bone density.
- Body weight. Underweight increases the risk of fractures and bone loss. Excessive weight loss is accompanied by a reduction in bone density, especially in a sedentary lifestyle.
- Reproductive problems. Pregnancy and lactation do not normally affect the bone system of a healthy woman. Amenorrhea (cessation of menstrual cycles) after the onset of puberty and before menopause is a major threat to bone health if left untreated.
- Diseases and medications. There are many conditions and medications that can directly affect bone health.
- The vices. Smoking reduces bone mass and increases the risk of fractures. Alcohol abuse has also been associated, according to specialized studies, with decreased bone density and susceptibility to fractures.
- Hormone levels in the body. Excess thyroid hormones cause bone loss. Menopausal women are at higher risk for osteoporosis, as estrogen levels drop significantly. In men, testosterone deficiency can lead to bone disease.