Our bones are primarily responsible for supporting our bodies, providing structure, protecting our vital organs, and acting as attachment sites for muscles that allow the body to move. Bones are also responsible for storing minerals like phosphorus and calcium, and releasing them into the body when they are needed elsewhere.
Due to a multitude of factors, bones can become weak and brittle. This can lead to breaks, fractures, as well as long-term health issues. The following can affect your bone health:
- Diet. Maintaining a diet that is low in calcium and vitamin D can increase your risk of getting osteoporosis or bone-density loss.
- Physical Activity. Physically inactive people have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more active counterparts.
- Body Weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential when it comes to bone health. Being underweight can increase your risk of fractures and bone loss as you continue to age.
- Tobacco and Alcohol Use. Tobacco use can reduce bone mass and increase your chances of experiencing fractures and breaks. Alcohol consumption can also have the same effects on bone density.
- Certain Medications. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that might increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin, and phenobarbital, and proton pump inhibitors.
Factors You Cannot Control
- Gender. Women have less bone tissue than men do, making them more prone to osteoporosis.
- Age. As you age, your body begins absorbing calcium and phosphates from your bones making them thinner and weaker.
- Hormone Levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. The prolonged absence of menstruation before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
- Ethnicity and Family History. You’re at the greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
- Eating Disorders and Other Conditions. People who suffer from anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery, weight loss surgery, and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and Cushing’s disease can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Keeping your bones healthy can help prevent osteoporosis and other bone fractures or injuries. If you have questions about bone health, osteoporosis, or the services Dr. Larson offers, give us a call at 435-774-8512.