The condition of fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain that is often debilitating.
It effects around 10 percent of the population across the world and is occurs seven times more in women than in men.
Besides the pain, there are other signs and symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders, migraine headaches, difficulty with memory/concentration, fatigue, and more. In addition, bone health is also affected by this condition.
Effects of Fibromyalgia on Bones
The primary findings reveal that fibromyalgia has an effect on 25-OH Vitamin D levels in the blood.
This is just the first of many effects of fibromyalgia on bone health. Of course, though the levels of Vitamin D are low, there doesn’t seem to be any significant differences in calcium or parathyroid hormone levels.
However, there are some individuals who do have what is known as biochemical osteomalacia.
The low levels of Vitamin D in the blood could be explained by the fact that often, the condition of fibromyalgia is debilitating, which keeps individuals from getting outside and getting exposure to the sun.
When researchers examined bone mineral density in those individuals with fibromyalgia, it is often revealed that they have a difference in the density of the mid-distal site in the radial bone in their hand.
This is indicative of long-term bone loss instead of short-term. In addition, bone mineral density in the spine is also low in those individuals with fibromyalgia.
Are Osteoporosis and Fibromyalgia Related?
The condition of osteoporosis causes bones to be brittle and more prone to becoming fractured.
A large number of individuals who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia will also develop osteoporosis.
This is because their bone density is lower at sites such as the spine, hips, and necks.
Typically, osteoporosis will have an effect on those individuals who have fibromyalgia and are between the ages of 51 to 60.
One theory is that these individuals develop osteoporosis because of the reduced levels of growth hormones.
Individuals who have a family history of osteoporosis are at an increased risk for developing it.
In addition, those who are non-Hispanic Asian or Caucasian descent are much more likely to develop this condition.
Other Factors Affecting Bone Health
There are several additional factors that can have an effect on your bone health, including the following:
Calcium intake: if your diet is low in calcium, you will most likely end up suffering from a decrease in bone density, an increased risk of fractures, and early bone loss.
Physical activity: those who are physical active are at a decreased risk of developing bone problems and pain when compared to their inactive counterparts.
Use of tobacco and alcohol: research indicates that using tobacco is a contributing factor to weak bones. In addition, having two or more alcoholic drinks each day can increase the risk of developing bone problems- this is most likely due to the fact that alcohol use can keep your body from properly absorbing calcium.
Gender: women are at a much greater risk of developing bone problems than men.
Size: individuals who are thin (BMI of 19 or less) are more likely to develop issues because there is less bone mass to draw from.
Age: as you age, your bones naturally become weaker and thinner.
Race and family history: if you are of Caucasian or Asian descent, you are much more likely to have bone problems. In addition, if you have an immediate family member that has bone problems, you are much more likely to develop them as well.
Hormone levels: elevated thyroid hormone levels can cause bone problems. Women experience an increase in bone loss when they reach menopause due to lowered levels of estrogen. Men lose bone mass due to decreases in levels of testosterone.
Eating disorders/other conditions: individuals who have eating disorders are at an increased risk for developing bone problems. Stomach surgery, Cushing’s disease, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease also increase your likelihood of developing bone problems.
Certain drugs: there are certain medications, such as the corticosteroids that cause damage to bones. In addition, SSRIs, some anti-seizure medications, aromatase inhibitors, and more lead to bone loss- which can cause pain and other problems.
How to Protect Your Bone Health
Protecting your bone health is much easier than you might think. You should be aware that your bones are always changing.
New bone cells are made and old bone cells are broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new cells quicker than the old ones break down, which helps to increase your bone mass.
Typically, you will reach your peak around the age of 30. After that, the breaking down/building process will continue, but your body works slower- which means that it will break down bones quicker than it will build them.
It is critical that you do what you can to protect your bones when you’re young so that you are less likely to develop problems in the future.
Following are some ways that you can ensure bone health:
- Include sufficient calcium in your diet. Medical experts recommend that adults age 19 to 50 and men age 51 to 70 should be consuming 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. After the age of 50, this increases to 1,200 milligrams for women- this increase occurs for men after the age of 70.
Some of the best sources of calcium include soy products, almonds, dairy products, canned salmon, kale, and broccoli. If you don’t think that your diet is providing enough calcium, you can speak with your physician about supplement options.
- Vitamin D: you should pay close attention to your Vitamin D levels because your body requires this nutrient to absorb calcium. For adults between the ages of 19 to 70, the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D is 600 IUs each and every day. For those who are 71 and older, this recommended daily allowance increases to 800 IUs every day.
Some great sources of Vitamin D include fortified milk, oily fish, and egg yolks. In addition, exposure to the sun also helps the body to naturally produce Vitamin D. If you’re concerned about whether or not you are getting enough Vitamin D, you can speak with your physician regarding taking supplements.
- Make sure that you are including physical activity as part of your daily routine. After all, weight-bearing exercises can help to slow down bone loss and build up strength in your bones. Some great weight-bearing exercises include climbing stairs, jogging, walking, and tennis.
- Don’t drink more than two adult (alcoholic) beverages each day.
- Don’t abuse substances- whether prescription, OTC, or illegal substances.
- If you’re a smoker, quit smoking. If you’re thinking about smoking, don’t pick up the habit.