Bone Loss: Causes, Risk Factors, Diseases & Expert’s Opinion

Bone Loss
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Bone loss occurs when an old bone is broken faster than a new bone is made. During your lifetime, resorption occurs; a process where your body constantly breaks down old bones and make new bones. Whenever an old bone is broken faster than new bone is made, it is said net bone loss has occurred. Bone loss can lead to osteopenia; this is a condition where the bone density is lower than the normal but not low enough than in the case of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is considered the alternate name for bone loss.

Bone Loss Causes

Bone loss occurs when more bones are broken down than new ones are formed. There are several factors that cause bone loss. These factors includes: Vitamin D deficiency, low amount of Calcium in your body, age; when you get older you are at risk of bone loss compared to when you are below the age of 30, this is because the rate of resorption increases* after the first 3 decades of your life. You are at risk of bone loss if you are not engaged in physical activities. Exercises such as walking for some few miles a day, jogging, swimming, and weight lifting will make your bones strong and increase* the bone density. Other factors that can cause bone loss are substance abuse such as:

  • Smoking – Men and women who smoke have weaker bones which can fracture easily.
  • Alcoholism – Taking too much alcohol can increase* the risk of bone loss especially when you take alcohol in large quantities on a daily basis. Alcohol can also make you fall down leading to fractures and even breaking your bones.
  • Taking certain Medication such as Corticosteroids – These are wide medications prescribed for different types of diseases such as lupus, asthma, inflammatory bowel movement, arthritis joint pain to name a few.

Bone Loss and Aging

As you grow older, the rate of resorption increases* compared to the rate of new bones that are formed. After the age of 30, remodelling start taking course. In women, bone loss occurs faster in the first few years after menopause than before they reach menopause, and it always continues throughout the old age. To men, bone loss occurs later in life but this does not mean they are at low risk during the young age. Actually at the age of 65, men will have the same rate of bone loss compared with women.

Bone Health and Lifestyle

The habits you adapt can affect your age bone health for the rest of your life. You are at high risk of bone loss if you engage in excessive alcoholism, and smoking. If you don’t engage in physical activities in your life you are also at risk of bone loss because your bones will become weak and susceptible to fractures.

Bone loss and Disease

There are several diseases and conditions that can make you at risk of bone loss. Some of the conditions and diseases require you to take some kind of medications which can further increase* your risk for osteoporosis and bone loss. Some of these diseases will make you not be able to be engaged in physical activities which will further make your bones weak and prone to fractures. Examples of these medications are steroids and some therapies. These diseases and conditions includes lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, hyperthyroidism, several types of cancer such as leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma; sickle cell disease and organ transplants. Other disorders and conditions that can cause bone loss are multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, celiac disease, diabetes, hyperparathyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, Cushing’s syndrome, low level of testosterone in men, low levels of estrogen in men and women, multiple myeloma, blood and bone marrow disorders, thalassemia, stroke disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, anorexia nervosa in women, emphysema, female athlete triad, kidney diseases, liver diseases, polio, and scoliosis.

Expert’s Opinion

Experts from the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommend that in order to prevent bone loss, you should have adequate amount of vitamin D and Calcium in your diet. Daily exercise will also help in curbing bone loss. These exercises include walking for a few miles, jogging, swimming, dancing, weight lifting, and bicycling among a few. The foundation further says a dose of 600 to 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D is good through bone health supplements or food but the maximum intake for teens and adults is 4000IU a day.

For the Calcium intake, a man or a woman between the age of 18 and 50 needs 1000 milligrams of Calcium a day. As you grow older you will need more amount if Calcium in your body. For men who are above the age of 70 and women who above the age of 50 they will require 1200 milligrams of Calcium a day.
You have what it takes to keep your bones healthy.

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Author

Expert Author : Emily Clark (Consumer Health Digest)

Emily Clark is a medical writer with years of experience. She can be found residing in Maywood, Illinois, researching and writing on recent advances in medicine.