As women get older, their concerns turn to health conditions associated with Postmenopausal aging, including osteoporosis. Women already have a greater osteoporosis risk than men, and once they hit menopause, that risk increases even more. But many women — and men — may have osteoporosis risk factors that they don’t even know about, which means they may not be taking the necessary precautions to help prevent the condition.Don’t let a broken bone take you by surprise.
Health Conditions and Osteoporosis:Several health conditions can affect your bones, leaving them weak and more likely to fracture. Here are some health conditions that can contribute to osteoporosis risk:
- Digestive system disorders. This includes celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten. Celiac disease can prevent the absorption of a number of bone-strengthening nutrients like vitamin D and calcium. Inflammatory bowel disease — including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — can also increase a person’s osteoporosis risk due to side effects of steroid medications and absorption problems.
- Autoimmune conditions. Lupus is an autoimmune disease linked to higher osteoporosis risk. Lupus medications, particularly steroids, can contribute to bone loss. Rheumatoid arthritis also boosts osteoporosis risk, as do the steroid medications used to manage the condition.
- Thyroid disorders. Having hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormone) or hyperparathyroidism (overproduction of parathyroid hormone) are also osteoporosis risk factors. Abnormally high levels of these hormones result in bones that are more likely to break.
- Hormone disorders. Men with low testosterone are at risk for osteoporosis, as the hormone testosterone helps to protect against bone loss. Diabetes is also an osteoporosis risk factor — particularly type 1 diabetes. It’s not known how or why diabetes affects bone health.
Here are some commonly prescribed steroid medications that are known to affect bone health:
- Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
- Dexamethasone (Decadron)
- Methylprednisolone sodium succinate (Solu-Medrol)
Cancer Treatments and Osteoporosis:Life-saving cancer treatments aren’t without long-term health effects, including increased osteoporosis risk. Men with prostate cancer who undergo hormone deprivation therapy are more likely to develop osteoporosis. This treatment inhibits testosterone and other hormones, and with less testosterone, bone density decreases and bones become more frail and brittle.Women undergoing breast cancer treatments that induce menopause also have an increased osteoporosis risk due to lack of estrogen. When estrogen levels drop, bones become thinner and more likely to break. Women taking aromatase inhibitor medications — anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), or letrozole (Femara) — to treat their breast cancer also have increased osteoporosis risk.So whether you’re a healthy woman over the age of 50 who has undergone menopause, a younger woman with regular monthly periods, or even a man, you may be at risk for osteoporosis.