Colorado Arthritis Center, P.C. - Rheumatology Colorado Arthritis Center, P.C. - Rheumatology : (303) 788-1312
Specialists in Rheumatology….from Arthritis to Osteoporosis
Conditions We Treat

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Bones provide structure and protect the brain, heart and other organs from injury. They also store calcium and phosphorus and release them into our blood when they are in short supply. Bone health is therefore crucial to healthy living.

Some signs and symptoms that indicate poor bone health include:

  • Receding Gums: Although receding gums can occur for various reasons it may be from bone loss at the jaw bone indicating poor bone health.

  • Weak and brittle nails

  • Bone pain and cramps in muscles: Bone pain and especially leg cramps at night may indicate deficiency of calcium, magnesium or potassium.

  • Height loss: Height loss in adults can occur from spinal fractures which may not be noticed when pain is not present.

Risk factors are anything that increase the chances of having a disease or condition. Certain risk factors like age, gender, ethnicity and family history cannot be controlled, but there are other factors that are under our control. These can make a significant difference in making our bones stronger and preventing bone loss and include the following:

  • Diet: Calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones and diets lacking these can contribute to poor bone health. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, cereals and low-fat dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese is very important. Exposure to sun rays triggers synthesis of vitamin D in our body and helps in the metabolism of calcium.

  • Physical inactivity: Physical inactivity leads to poor bone health. Regular exercise improves balance, coordination and muscle strength and helps keep bones strong and healthy.

  • Too much sodium, protein (non-diary) and caffeine increases the dissolution of calcium from bones and leads to bone weakness.

  • Being underweight: The risk of fractures and bone loss increase if you are underweight.

  • Smoking and drinking too much alcohol can affect bone health.

  • Steroid medicines: Steroid medicines are strong anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma but also cause bone loss. Thus the right dose and duration of treatment of steroid medicines is critical to balance the risk associated with these medicines.

  • Certain disease conditions and disorders: Digestive and gastrointestinal disorders such as Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease affect the absorption of the nutrients including calcium and Vitamin D and affect bone health adversely. Certain other diseases that affect the bone health adversely are diabetes, hyperthyroidism and hyperparathyroidism.
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