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Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

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Topic Overview

Many people take oral or inhaled steroid medicines for conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These medicines include beclomethasone, flunisolide, and prednisone. The oral kind and the high-dose inhaled kind can cause bone loss over time. If you are on these types of medicines for 6 months or longer, you are at increased risk for osteoporosis. This puts you at high risk for broken bones. If you do break a bone, healing can take a long time because osteoporosis reduces your bones' ability to rebuild.

If you use steroid medicines long-term, you should be watched for bone loss.

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Bone Density Scan

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis and nearly 34 million more have osteopenia, which puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis. Bone mineral density (BMD) is related to bone strength. BMD testing is used to diagnose osteoporosis. BMD is measured with a test called a DXA scan. By measuring BMD, doctors can predict the risk of having a bone fracture. A bone density scan, or test, should not be confused with a...

Read the Bone Density Scan article > >


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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