The endocrine system is where all the hormones are produced. It is made up of various glands that secrete hormones for regular body function, growth and development, regulation of metabolism, reproduction and sexual cycle, mood, sleep, and tissue function. It is based on the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, parathyroid glands, ovaries, testicles and pancreas.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones where bone mass continues to reduce and allows for an easy fracture. So how are the two related? Does the disease depend on the imbalance of hormones? Here are some clear answers for you.
Understanding the Endocrine System’s Relation to Osteoporosis
If the hormones are being produced in excess or too low a quantity, it is not only the organs they produce the hormone for that are affected. Rather, the entire balance of the body falls into jeopardy. Studies show that even organs that do not gain any advantage from hormones get affected by lack or excess of it.
Same is the case with osteoporosis and the endocrine system. Even though there is no direct correlation of the bones and hormones secreted by the endocrine system, they are still affected and osteoporosis results. In order to truly understand, you will first need to know what osteoporosis is.
Osteoporosis as mentioned above is a bone condition, where the bone mass decreases and makes the bone weak. Therefore, they can fracture or break easily. The condition is common among the elderly as bone mass decreases with age. This is the reason why you may have noticed why the elderly experience hip, wrist, and spine fractures so commonly. Women are more at risk of osteoporosis than men.
As the body grows, the process of bone regeneration starts slowing down. When menopause comes about for women, the remodeling of the bone process become very slow and thus they become more susceptible to bone fracture. Although, it can’t be said why some people are more at risk of having osteoporosis than others. There are some reasons that have been narrowed down and suggested. Other than menopause, these are the reasons why osteoporosis might take place:
- Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism
- Cushing’s syndrome where there is excessive production of cortisol. The hormone cortisol is also produced in large quantities due to stress, which is why Cushing’s may not be the only reason for its presence in the body.
- Extremely low levels of testosterone, a male hormone
- Primary hyperparathyroidism, a condition where there are very high levels of parathyroid hormones produced in the body
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease, an autoimmune disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Celiac disease
- Use of steroids, anti-epileptic drugs and other hormone related treatments
In simple words, osteoporosis can occur because of irregular hormonal production or deficiency. What’s more, even treatments that use hormone medicine or hormone inhibiting medicine, for instance breast cancer, can increase the risk of acquiring osteoporosis.
Unlike conditions that are directly related to hormonal imbalance, osteoporosis can be avoided, though not cured. Read below for some further descriptions.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis
Sadly, there are no symptoms of osteoporosis in advance. Only when a bone breaks in your body or a fracture occurs is the test run to discover if a patient is suffering from the disease. If you or one of your loved ones has recently acquired a fracture either by falling, like on the hip or wrist, or without any cause in the spine, then chances are that osteoporosis has set in.
The doctor will first do an X-ray to measure bone density and then follow up with blood tests to ensure that the condition is osteoporosis and nothing else more serious. Once accurate diagnosis has been made, treatment is suggested.
Patients who are suffering from osteoporosis are generally recommended a class of medications called bisphosphonates. These medications work by sticking to the bone and getting absorbed inside. They then prevent any more loss of bone mass and make sure that fracture cannot easily take place. Patients are also given Vitamin D and calcium in order to make sure that the treatment is more effective. Any type of weight bearing exercises will also help keep your bones strong.
Women who get osteoporosis after menopause are started on estrogen therapies as to recover the loss. This too helps in maintaining bone density. But these treatments are usually not continued for long term.
How to Avoid Getting Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can be avoided, even if it does run in your family. If you are conscious of the problem in advance, you can take preventive measures in order to make sure that you are not stricken with the disease. Studies show that lifestyle choices do make a difference in whether there is onset of osteoporosis in your body.
What needs to be understood is that once you hit your mid 20’s, the process of bone thinning begins. This means that your chances of fractures increases each day. The sooner you start taking care of your bones, the sooner you can save them from osteoporosis.
From an early age it should be ensures that all children not only consume a well-balanced nutritious diet, but also consume good quantities of calcium and vitamin D. Physical fitness is likewise just as important. The more your body is exposed to exercise, sunlight and fresh air, the healthier it will be.
Adults, particularly women need to make sure that they are taking adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D in their diet. If the criteria is not met, then additional supplements should be made a part of life. Weight bearing activities and strength training also help in keeping your bones healthly. Smoking and heavy drinking must be avoided as they aid in the loss of bone mass very rapidly.
Do not forget, you are in control of your hormones and bone health. As long as good balance is maintained, chances of acquiring osteoporosis decrease. Keep away from stress and ensure that hormone imbalance are diagnosed and treated by your doctor. If you feel that there is something wrong, get in touch with the doctor immediately.