Your bones are constantly growing and replacing old bone cells with new ones. However, for those with osteoporosis, bone loss outpaces the growth of new bone. When your bones begin to thin, they become brittle and more prone to fracture. More than 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis. So why is bone loss so common? Here are some of the common causes of osteoporosis.
Low Estrogen In Women
Estrogen deficiency in women is the most common cause of osteoporosis. Bone loss accelerates after menopause, when estrogen levels begin to lower for most women. Younger women who stop menstruating, such as athletes or women with eating disorders, also tend to lose bone density.
Lack Of Calcium
Your bones rebuild themselves over your entire lifetime, without calcium there is no way your body can produce new bone cells. You need a constant level of calcium in your blood because many other organs depend on it as well. When these organs demand calcium, they will take it from the mineral storehouse in your bones, making your bones weak and brittle.
Lack Of Vitamin D
Lack of vitamin D causes weak and brittle bones. Vitamin D acts more like a hormone because it helps your body store and use calcium.
When bones aren’t being used, they lose their density. For those who are sedentary or are suffering from paralysis, bone loss speeds up. This is one of the causes that you can help prevent by staying active and doing weight-bearing exercises.
High levels of thyroid hormones have been linked to bone loss. For those who have to take a thyroid medication, doctors suggest getting regular exercise and taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.
There is a direct relationship between tobacco use and loss of bone density. Studies on smoking and bone health have shown a number of other effects that the toxins in cigarettes have on your bones. Nicotine has harmful effects on bone cells and blocks the body’s ability to use estrogen, calcium, and vitamin D.
Certain medications may lead to decreased bone density. Medicines that are notorious for doing this include cortisone, hydrocortisone, and prednisone. These medications are made to treat a number of health conditions from asthma to colitis.
Medical conditions can contribute to bone loss as well. Genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and digestive diseases like multiple myeloma can all be contributing factors to osteoporosis. Some people don’t hold calcium like they are supposed to and excrete it through urine. When bones aren’t getting the calcium they need, they lose density.
Excessive Amounts Of Alcohol
Alcohol can negatively affect bone remodeling and increase calcium loss. If you are already suffering from osteoporosis and drink too much alcohol, one fall could cause a serious bone fracture.
Fortunately, a good majority of these causes are in your control and can be prevented through lifestyle changes. It is critical to make sure you get enough calcium, vitamin D, and exercise to keep your bones strong. If you are still having bone density issues, talk to your doctor and see if you have any hormone imbalances or other medical conditions that could contribute to loss of bone density.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Matthew Boes M.D. Orthopaedic Surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Trisha wants to know what factors contribute to bone loss.
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