6 Medical Conditions Linked to Osteoporosis and Bone Loss
Are you at risk for bone loss due to your medical condition?
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland -- a small, butterfly-shaped
gland at the base of the neck -- becomes overactive and produces too much
"Hyperthyroidism increases the number of bone-remodeling cycles you go
through," explains Edwards. "And after age 30, every bone-remodeling
cycle is inefficient. You lose bone mass rather than building it. So the more
cycles you go through, the more bone mass you lose."
Hyperparathyroidism, a similar condition involving related, but different
glands, also ups the risk of osteoporosis.
4. Celiac Disease
A number of digestive disorders, such as Crohn's disease, can be causes of
osteoporosis. Perhaps the most common such cause, says Edwards, is celiac
disease, an allergy to a protein called gluten that is often found in wheat
Left untreated, celiac disease can damage the lining of the digestive system
and interfere with the digestion of nutrients -- including the calcium and
vitamin D that are so important to bone health. So even if you're getting the
recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet, if you have
celiac disease, you probably don't have enough of those nutrients in your
system, and you likely have low bone density.
Asthma itself does not increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, but
the medications used to treat it do. Approximately 20 million people in the
U.S. have asthma, including some 9 million children under the age of 18.
Many people with asthma use corticosteroids -- such as asthma
"inhalers" -- to help control their disease. During asthma attacks it
is not uncommon to start drugs like prednisone for small periods of time. These
are very effective in relieving the shortness of breath and wheezing that are
common with asthma or emphysema, but they may also contribute to bone loss and
"In addition to this, many young people with asthma may have more
difficulty participating in some activities, which means they might not get as
much weight-bearing exercise as they need to help build bone," says Andrew
Bunta, MD, associate professor and vice chair of orthopaedics at Northwestern
University Feinberg School of Medicine.