Osteoporosis in rheumatologic conditions



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Osteoporosis is a progressive softening of the bones which makes them more likely to break and is particularly common in many sufferers of rheumatic conditions. In this blog post, we look at the connections between joint inflammation and osteoporosis, including the most significant risk factors and the potential treatment options.

Osteoporosis and arthritis

Osteoporosis is especially prominent in cases of arthritis, a label which covers many rheumatic conditions. This mainly emerges because of a lack of physical activity; this is typically difficult with inflamed joints. For example, osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) involves the bones painfully rubbing up against each other.

General inflammation, a key symptom across any type of arthritis or rheumatologic condition, is another major factor in osteoporosis as it breaks tissues down at a quicker rate. Studies suggest that up to 80% of rheumatoid arthritis patients have osteoporosis, showing a clear link between inflammatory diseases and weak bones.

Risk factors for osteoporosis

There are other key factors to account for, including obesity and smoking. Both of these speed up inflammation and increase the risk of a patient developing osteoporosis. As rheumatic patients age, their symptoms typically worsen, which massively increases the chances of osteoporosis, especially as this limits physical activity.

It appears the side effects and long-term impacts of rheumatologic conditions have a significant influence on if a person develops osteoporosis alongside them. The symptoms of arthritis and other similar illnesses can often lead to a lack of activity which, in conjunction with inflammation, exacerbates the likelihood of osteoporosis.

How to treat rheumatic osteoporosis

When experiencing both osteoporosis and a rheumatic condition, exercise to manage bone deterioration could be too difficult for patients. A well-balanced diet which contains plenty of calcium and vitamin D could improve joint function and preserve bone strength – supplements are an option, but food sources are more effective.

Another possible route for treatment is bisphosphonate medication; this is typically in the form of a tablet, liquid, or injection and slows bone deterioration over time. Parathyroid hormone therapy could instead improve your bone’s density, making this a particularly attractive form of treatment for many.

Osteoporosis and rheumatologic conditions correlate and even feed into one another – making it essential you understand the clear link between these conditions and how you can keep your bones healthy. If you believe a rheumatic condition is causing you to develop osteoporosis, our London clinic can teach you how to manage it.