Active Seniors

Inflammation and Bone Density

When most people think about bone density and osteoporosis they automatically think about calcium and vitamin D. However there are other factors which can have a large impact on bone density and therefore fracture risk.

Essentially healthy bone density requires a good balance between the cells that build new bone, and the ones that break down old bone. While blood calcium levels are an important part of this balance, so too are inflammatory processes.

How does inflammation affect your bones?

When the body is subject to inflammation for extended periods, the balance between the bone building cells and the bone breaking down cells becomes disturbed. The net result is that bone is broken down at a faster rate than new bone is developed. This, of course means that the strength of the bone can be affected and the risk of fracture is elevated.

What causes inflammation?

Some health conditions that can cause such inflammation and hence can affect bone density include inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. While a significant amount of attention is placed on management of the direct symptoms of inflammatory bowel conditions, little emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining bone density and strength.

How can exercise help?

Like all conditions affecting bone, exercise is vital in the management of bone density and bone strength. Exercise can help to stimulate the activity of the bone building cells to try and restore the balance of the bone cells. Given that fracture risk is elevated, it is important that the exercise program should be designed by an exercise physiologist to ensure that safety is taken into account.

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