You probably know some of the leading risk factors for osteoporosis -- being
female and past menopause, smoking, or having a small frame. But did you know
that some fairly common medical conditions are also among the causes of
osteoporosis bone loss?
If you have one of these conditions, either because of the disease itself or
because of the medications you have to take to manage it, you face an increased
risk of developing osteoporosis:
Weight loss and bone loss can sometimes go hand in hand.
Doctors know that women with anorexia, who severely restrict calories for a long time, are at increased risk for osteoporosis. The eating disorder interferes with hormones needed to maintain bone, not to mention the foods people need to build bone.
But what if you don’t have anorexia? What’s the relationship between osteoporosis and normal dieting? How do you know if you’re at risk for bone loss? What kind of dieting is safe for your bones?
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
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
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.