Health Conditions That Impact Your Bone Health

Health Conditions That Impact Your Bone Health

Your body depends on healthy bones for support, movement, and protection of important organs. While simple habits like consuming a bone-healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise can keep your bones healthy, certain health conditions can undermine your efforts. 

As your bone health deteriorates, your bones become brittle and susceptible to osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease in which your body loses too much bone or fails to make enough new bone to remain healthy. 

Osteoporosis occurs gradually over time, deteriorating bone health without symptoms in its early stages. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve bone health and give you the best chance of rebuilding healthy bones. 

Our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care have the expertise necessary to evaluate conditions that may be a risk to bone health. 

After a thorough examination and medical history, we design an individual plan to improve and protect your bone health. This includes an evaluation of non-modifiable risk factors, such as age and genetics, as well as the treatment of health conditions that may be affecting bone health.

Eating disorder

When you have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia nervosa, you’re likely not getting enough of the nutrients necessary for strong bones such as protein, calcium, and vitamin D. 

Without enough food, your brain sends messages that tell your body to shut down less essential functions such as the production of estrogen, a hormone necessary to build and maintain strong bones.  

The relationship seems to be particularly strong between anorexia nervosa and osteoporosis. 

Research indicates that up to 75% of women who experience anorexia nervosa have some degree of bone mineral deficiency. The impact on bone health remains for about 50% of these women, even after they return to normal weight.  

Getting appropriate treatment for an eating disorder is necessary to improve bone health and your overall well-being. We can help you develop a plan to ensure you consume a bone-healthy diet and get the recommended amount of the nutrients you may be lacking for bone health. 


Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a condition in which your body makes more than a normal amount of thyroid hormones. These hormones control the rate of bone replacement. 

Having too much thyroid hormone accelerates the rate at which you lose bone. When this occurs, your body may not be capable of replacing the lost bone fast enough. 

Treating an overactive thyroid can restore the level of thyroid hormone to normal levels. This can reduce the rate of bone loss so your body can replace it appropriately. 

Depending on your condition, treatment with radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, or a class of drugs called beta blockers may be appropriate. In some cases, removal of the thyroid gland may be necessary. 

Kidney or liver disease

A healthy kidney maintains normal levels of calcium and phosphorus, two key minerals necessary for strong bones. When kidney disease interferes with maintaining normal levels, your bones can become weak, fragile, and painful. 

Diseased kidneys are also less capable of producing adequate amounts of vitamin D, which helps your bones absorb the calcium they need to be healthy. 

Osteoporosis is commonly associated with liver disease, affecting an estimated 40% of patients with an unhealthy liver. The effect on healthy bones can vary depending on the type of liver disease, but the common result is an increase in fractures that occur without trauma. 

Appropriate treatment for kidney or liver disease depends on your condition. We determine whether calcium and/or vitamin D supplements are necessary to improve bone health. 

Gastrointestinal disorders

Osteoporosis occurs commonly in patients who have gastrointestinal disorders, which are conditions associated with inflammation, maldigestion, and malabsorption. 

Like eating disorders, these conditions — including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s disease — can interfere with the proper absorption of the vitamins and minerals necessary to build and maintain healthy bones. 

Diagnosis and treatment of underlying gastrointestinal disorders is necessary for bone health and overall well-being. 

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune conditions in which your body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation. 

These conditions and other chronic inflammatory diseases increase your risk of osteoporosis because they accelerate the rate at which old bone is replaced with new healthy bone to the point that your body can’t provide new bone at the same rate. 

Treatment for symptoms of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis often include the use of corticosteroids to reduce symptoms, though this doesn’t improve bone health. Improvement of bone health is similar to treatment of osteoporosis in all patients. 

Find out more about the impact of chronic conditions on bone health. Contact our Chicago or Northbrook, Illinois, office today to arrange a consultation.

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