Fibromyalgia Patients may Develop Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. Fibromyalgia is a common health problem that causes widespread pain and tenderness (sensitive to touch).

People suffering from fibromyalgia are much more likely to have family history of osteoporosis; they are more prone to become smokers and more addicted to use steroids and anti-convulsants. The use of steroids and smoking addiction further increase the risk of getting osteoporosis.

Those who have family history of osteoporosis are generally at a greater risk of getting the condition. Those of non-Hispanic Caucasian or Asian descent are in addition at a greater risk. Symptoms of fibromyalgia and its related problems can vary in intensity, and will wax and wane over time. Stress often worsens the symptoms. Some patients also may have Digestive problems like

Fibromyalgia and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to become thin and brittle. This leaves you at a high risk of developing bone fractures or breaks that could end up causing you even more pain and disability. You gradually lose bone mass throughout your body as you grow. This bone mass is typically replaced, in order to keep you healthy and strong. As you age though, bone replacement can’t keep up with bone loss.

Osteoporosis further enhance this bone loss and increase the chance of getting fractures in areas like your hip, wrists, and spine. Osteoporosis does get worse over time, so it is essential that you find appropriate treatment from your health care provider. One of the main causes of the disease is a part of menopause, estrogen loss that why women are affected more than men. Other diseases like Cushing’s syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis may lead to osteoporosis. People who don’t get enough calcium are also at risk.

Osteoporosis may be a genetic disorder in some patients. Your risk factors are increased if you are a smoker or if you take certain drugs like prednisone. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because many people have no symptoms in the early stages. Many people are not aware of the fact that their bones have become weak or brittle until they have a fracture.

Once the disease is in its advanced stages, patients may have wrist, hip or vertebrae fractures, back pain, poor posture and they may notice a decrease in their height. Fibromyalgia patients between the ages of 51 to 60 years are commonly the victims of osteoporosis. It is thought that fibromyalgia sufferers get osteoporosis because of reduced growth hormones. Patients who have fibromyalgia often have limited mobility, and because of this, they have less exposure to sunlight.

This limited mobility further put them on risk of getting osteoporosis because they may not be getting sufficient vitamin D, which is made by the body naturally when it is exposed to the sun.  Since vitamin D is important to bone health, maintaining adequate levels is important. It is thought that fibromyalgia sufferers get osteoporosis because of reduced growth hormones. Fibromyalgia syndrome stops the production of growth hormone; this can further reduce bone production. As a result, bones become very fragile and osteoporotic.

On examining the bone mineral density, it is usually seen that fibromyalgia patients have difference in density at the mid-distal site in the radius bone in the hand. This usually indicates a long-term rather than short-term bone loss. The spine bone mineral density in these patients is also low.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

Unfortunately, symptoms of osteoporosis are difficult to detect in its early stages. This is why osteoporosis is often referred to as “the silent disease”. Most people are generally not aware of the fact that they have osteoporosis until they suffer from a break or fracture. Severe osteoporosis is generally associated with fractures of the wrist, vertebrae, or hip, decreased height, repeated fractures, neck pain or back pain and tender bones.

What we can do to avoid osteoporosis?

Reducing further bone loss and encouraging bone growth is the first steps towards the treatment of osteoporosis. Treatment is recommended for sufferers in order to increase mobility, comfort, and prevent further fractures. Exercise is one of the recommendations.

Because of the fatigue and achiness, many fibromyalgia patients struggle just to do everyday tasks. Even the simplest of exercises can help improve bone mineral density; you don’t have to join gym.  One simple exercise is climbing stairs. You don’t have to run up and down them just go up and down one stair.

While walking may seem like a chore, even a short 10-minute walk can have benefits. Strength and aerobic capacity are associated with bone mass in women with fibromyalgia, and physical activity should be encouraged in this specific population to optimize bone health and also to prevent the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Calcium is necessary to bone health. Calcium supplements can be given to encourage bone formation and increase bone strength. There is a wide variety of medication available to treat osteoporosis. Some commonly used medications are teriparatide, to stimulate bone formation, estrogen replacement therapy, bisphosphonates, to slow bone loss and calcitonin, to prevent fractures.

Fibromyalgia symptoms are further improved by increasing vitamin D. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium; a mineral that doctors say is needed for strong bone mass.

This perfect as it can help both osteoporosis and fibromyalgia. While you can get both from supplements, you can also make some changes in your diet to make sure you are getting enough.

References:

Study: The study, titled “Bone Mineral Density Is Decreased In Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Systematic Review And Meta‑Analysis,” was published in the journal Rheumatology International.

  • The link between osteoporosis and fibromyalgia by Kim Sloan Via Fibromyalgia Treating
  • Fibromyalgia Patients May Be at Risk of Developing Osteoporosis, Study Suggests BY Joana Fernanded, PHD via Fibromyalgia New Today

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