Osteoporosis caused by glucocorticoid

Osteoporosis caused by Glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoids are a group of anti-inflammatory hormones, prescribed to treat a wide range of conditions such as allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. They work by reducing the inflammation caused by these conditions. However, for a small number of people, glucocorticoid treatments can cause something called secondary osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones caused by gradually losing bone density. This makes the bone much more prone to breakage. Secondary osteoporosis is caused by medications or other medical conditions, and is often more severe than primary osteoporosis.

One of the most common causes of secondary osteoporosis is glucocorticoid therapy. Glucocorticoids can cause a significant decrease in bone density, especially in long-term users. The risk of developing osteoporosis increases the higher the dose and the longer the duration of issue.

What are the risk factors for developing osteoporosis caused by glucocorticoids?

Age is a major risk factor. The American College of Rheumatology notes that people aged sixty-five and older are at the highest risk of developing glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Other factors include:

  • Gender: Women are at higher risk than men, particularly after post-menopausal.
  • Race: Caucasian women are at the highest risk.
  • Family history of Osteoporosis.
  • Thin body type.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Low calcium and/or vitamin D levels.
  • Lack of exercise.

If you are at risk of developing glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, then it is important to take steps to reduce the risk. Here are some ways to help:

  • Take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Quit smoking if possible.
  • Talk to your doctor about other medications that can reduce osteoporosis risk.
  • Discuss with your doctor about changing the glucocorticoid dosage or switching to a different medication.