Your bones are alive and constantly growing -- not static, like you see them drawn in books. Bones continually change throughout your life, with some bone cells dissolving and new bone cells growing back in a process called remodeling. With this lifelong turnover of bone cells, you replace most of your skeleton every 10 years.
But for people with osteoporosis -- a thinning of the bones -- bone loss outpaces the growth of new bone. Bones become porous, brittle, and prone to fracture. Look at an...
For reasons scientists still don't fully understand, people with type 1 diabetes tend to have lower bone density.
Studies show that people with type 1 diabetes may have low bone turnover and lower than normal bone formation.
"It seems that high blood sugar may shut down bone formation, just as with steroids," says Beatrice Edwards, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and director of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Since type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood, when the body is still building bone, someone with type 1 diabetes may never have the opportunity to reach their peak bone density.
Even if their bone mass isn't that much lower than normal, people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have a much higher risk of fractures than other people, adds Edwards.
2. Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Nearly 3 million adults in the U.S. have either lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Both of these diseases are autoimmune conditions, in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation.
Any chronic inflammatory disease can put you at greater risk of osteoporosis, says Edwards, because it appears to increase the rate of bone turnover, in which old bone is replaced with healthy new bone. People with both lupus and RA usually take corticosteroids for an extended period of time to manage their symptoms. Long-term use of steroids such as prednisone is also a leading cause of osteoporosis, possibly because they slow the activity of bone-building cells.
Lupus is a particular problem because it is common in women between the ages of 15 and 45 -- often during the peak bone-building years up to age 30. "Anything that impedes the growth of bone during these years puts you at greater risk for osteoporosis," says Edwards.