Asthma and Osteoporosis
The Connection Between Asthma and Osteoporosis continued...
Many asthma sufferers think that milk and dairy products
trigger asthmatic attacks, although the evidence shows that this is only likely
to be true if the person has a dairy allergy. This unnecessary avoidance of
calcium-rich dairy products can be especially damaging for children with asthma
who need calcium to build strong bones.
Since exercise often can trigger an asthma attack, many people
with asthma avoid weight-bearing physical activities that are known to
strengthen bone. Those people who remain physically active often choose
swimming as their first exercise of choice because it is less likely than other
activities to trigger an asthmatic attack. Unfortunately, swimming does not
have the same beneficial impact on bone health as weight-bearing exercises that
work the body against gravity. These exercises include walking, jogging,
racquet sports, basketball, volleyball, aerobics, dancing, and lifting
Osteoporosis Management Strategies
Strategies to prevent and treat osteoporosis in people with
asthma are not significantly different from the strategies for those who do not
have the disease.
Nutrition: A diet rich in calcium and vitamin
D is important for healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy
products; dark green, leafy vegetables; and calcium-fortified foods and
beverages. Also, supplements can help ensure that the calcium requirement is
met each day, especially in those with a proven milk allergy.
Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and
bone health. It is made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. While many
people are able to obtain enough vitamin D naturally and/or from fortified
foods, some individuals may require vitamin D supplements in order to ensure an
adequate daily intake.
Exercise: Like muscle, bone is living tissue
that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best kind of activity for
your bones is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity.
Some examples include walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights, and
People who experience exercise-induced asthma should exercise
in an environmentally controlled facility and participate in activities that
fall within their limitations. They may also use medication when necessary to
enable them to exercise.