Osteoporosis, often known as “brittle bone disease,” is a disorder that causes bones to become thin and fragile, putting them in danger of breaking easily. An estimated 54 million Americans have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the disease due to insufficient bone density, according to recent estimates (a condition called osteopenia). Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men, even though the illness can affect men and women of all ages. In their lifetime, one in every two women and up to one in every four men will have a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis, according to the American Osteopathic Association. One’s chance of developing osteoporosis grows with age, regardless of gender or race. Because medical advancements allow individuals to live longer lives, an increasing number of people may have osteoporosis in the future.
EDS is a rare systemic illness characterized by widespread joint hypermobility with repeated joint dislocations, redundant and hyperextensible skin with poor wound healing and aberrant scarring, easy bruising, and osteopenia/osteoporosis. Hypotonia, delayed motor development, foot abnormalities, large superficial veins in the chest area, vascular problems (such as mitral valve prolapse and aortic root dilation), hernias, dental anomalies, scoliosis, and facial dysmorphisms are all possible symptoms of this condition (like the high palate, micrognathia, narrow palate). Autosomal recessive inheritance is the mode of inheritance.
Osteoporosis due to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
If you have EDS osteoporosis, you may be at increased risk of fracturing bones in your hip, spine, and wrist, among other places. Osteoporosis can also cause you to lose height in some situations. This is due to the fact that the illness can cause the bones in the spine to shatter or collapse, causing you to become stooped or slumped in your posture.
Losing Bone Mass in EDS osteoporosis
Normally, the body is constantly breaking down old bone and re-growing new bone to replace it. However, as you grow older, more bone is broken down than is rebuilt in your body. In reality, by the time a person reaches the age of 30, his or her bone mass has stopped growing. Over time, this shift may result in a decrease in bone mass. When it comes to women, the risk is exacerbated due to lower levels of the hormone estrogen that occur in the months leading up to and following menopause, which accelerates the process of bone loss. At approximately 65 or 70 years old, however, men and women tend to lose bone at roughly the same pace.
The frequency of all above-mentioned risk factors associated with osteoporosis increase when there is EDS present along with it.
Other risk factors for EDS osteoporosis include genetic issues and having a family history of osteoporosis.
Risk factors associated with EDS
Other osteoporosis risk factors associated with EDS include:
- A diet that is deficient in calcium and vitamin D
- Genetic issues
- The presence of previous gastrointestinal surgery that impairs the absorption of calcium and other nutrients
- Certain medications, such as glucocorticoids, which are used to manage illnesses such as arthritis and asthma; some anti-seizure medications; anti-clotting therapies such as heparin; pharmaceuticals that suppress the immune system; lithium; and proton pump inhibitors; are associated with long-term usage.
- A lack of physical activity and a lengthy period of bed rest.
- Excessive use of alcoholic beverages (three or more drinks daily)
- Exposure to secondhand smoke or smoking one’s own cigarettes
However, while the majority of these risk factors are common to both men and women, certain risk factors that are unique to men include a low testosterone level, prostate cancer, and the use of certain prostate cancer therapies.
Identifying and Addressing EDS Osteoporosis Risks
Poor balance, diminished muscle strength, poor eyesight, and impaired mental ability due to EDS all raise your chances of falling and shattering a bone in the process. The use of some drugs, such as muscle relaxants and tranquilizers, might raise your risk of falling as well.
Prevention of EDS osteoporosis is achieved by a healthy diet that includes adequate calcium and vitamin D and regular physical activity, which includes exercises that include weight-bearing and strength-training as well as activities that focus on improving balance. It’s also vital not to smoke and to keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your bone health and how you might improve it in EDS. When children and teenagers take precautions, they can reduce their risk of developing EDS-related osteoporosis later in life.
- If you already have EDS osteoporosis — take the medications your doctor prescribes—can help slow the progression of the disease and lower your risk of fractures.
- If you do not already have EDS osteoporosis — take the medications your doctor prescribes—can help reduce your risk of fractures.