Osteoporosis Is Getting Younger

Osteoporosis is not just a life-threatening condition in elderly individuals. Increasingly, it is striking younger patients who have a host of other medical problems, partly because many of today’s “miracle drugs” are robbing nutrients from their bones.

young-adults

Chronic disease and medication can interfere with the way the body naturally breaks down and rebuilds bone tissue, and how well it absorbs nutrients like calcium, Vitamin D, and Silicon for bone-building.

Osteoporosis is commonly diagnosed following a fracture (which is already far too late), and now bone health experts are calling for greater efforts to identify patients earlier who are at risk of this secondary osteoporosis.

Secondary osteoporosis is increasingly being diagnosed in younger patients with cancer, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as in people taking reflux medications, blood thinners and some depression drugs. As well as in people who had bariatric surgery for weight loss, and those receiving hormonal treatments to prevent the recurrence of breast or prostate cancer.

Medicines for anxiety and depression or medicines for acid reflux can interfere with bone formation in a number of ways. Cortisone for asthma as a child or adult, diabetes, gluten sensitivity and a whole host of common disorders interfere with bone formation. These causes are in addition to natural bone loss that occurs with age.

Bone mass reaches a peak at age 30 and declines with age. Teenagers and young women who had unhealthy eating habits, exercised too little or too much are setting themselves up for more severe bone problems as they age.  Just a 10% increase in peak bone mass in your 30s can delay the onset of osteoporosis by ten years. For women, menopause accelerates the process (men lag about 10 year behind) and both suffer bone loss that can be debilitating and deadly.

Doctors routinely have to make decisions that balance treatment of underlying diseases with bone health. Depending on the condition it may be advisable to use alternative treatments and dietary changes rather than prescription drugs that inhibit bone loss. Moderate amounts of impact exercises and proper nutrition with healthy foods and supplements are the best way to prevent osteoporosis if you are taking a natural approach.

Leave a Reply