Is Crohn’s Disease Bad for Your Bones?

Is Crohn’s Disease Bad for Your Bones?

Having Crohn’s disease puts you at risk for bone loss, but that doesn’t mean osteoporosis and other problems are inevitable. Take action now to protect your bone health.

 
Medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH
In addition to the primary symptoms that affect your digestive tract,Crohn’s disease can cause a secondary set of symptoms often related to low bone density and even bone loss or osteoporosis. In fact, as many as 30 to 60 percent of people with Crohn’s disease may have low bone density.

How can a condition like Crohn’s disease lead to bone loss? Your dietary limitations might mean that you’re eating a poor diet, or you might not be absorbing enough nutrients from the foods that you do eat. This can lead to calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, among other nutritional shortages. Vitamin D deficiency is also a side effect of long-term treatment with steroids for Crohn’s disease.

These deficiencies can, in turn, result in different types of disorders related to bone loss, including osteoporosis, osteopenia, and osteomalacia.

“Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease defined as a loss of bone mass and is associated with the deterioration of bone tissue,” explains Ryan S. Carvalho, MD, an attending physician in the division of gastroenterology and nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “Osteopenia is a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal. Osteomalacia refers to a softening of your bones, often caused by a vitamin D deficiency; in children, this condition is called rickets.”

Are you doing everything you can to manage your Crohn’s? Find out with our interactive checkup.

In other words, osteopenia is the thinning of bone mass, which can eventually lead to osteoporosis. Osteomalacia results from a defect in the bone-building process, while osteoporosis develops due to a weakening of previously constructed bone, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Preventing Bone Loss Due to Crohn’s Disease

Though calcium and vitamin D deficiencies and the bone loss that can follow are common side effects of Crohn’s disease, they are not inevitable. Here are steps you can take to protect your body and your bones from these complications:

  • Work closely with your doctor. Part of your doctor’s strategy for helping you fight Crohn’s disease should be preventing bone loss. If your doctor doesn’t bring up concerns related to your bones, be sure to ask about it.
  • Try bone-boosting strategies. Steps you can take on your own to help preserve bone density include getting regular exercise and eating a diet rich in calcium (think milk and dark green vegetables) and vitamin D (fortified milk and fatty fish). You can also get an adequate dose of vitamin D through a few minutes of sun exposure each day. Finally, avoid smoking and excessive drinking in order to preserve your bone health.
  • Consider supplements. In some cases, you may need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to avoid bone loss. Ask your doctor to help you work out the proper dosage of each supplement.
  • Manage steroids. Because steroids can lead to bone loss, changing your Crohn’s disease medication might be a strategy. Discuss possible options with your doctor, including going off steroids entirely, taking medications with a smaller steroid component, or taking drugs that support bone health along with the steroid treatments.
  • Get additional screenings. Because of the risks related to bone loss, Dr. Carvalho says it’s reasonable to monitor your bone density more often than suggested in guidelines for the general population. In addition, children with Crohn’s disease should have their growth measured at regular intervals to make sure there aren’t any delays related to bone density problems.

Bone health is yet another aspect of Crohn’s disease that needs to be managed, but all of these steps will benefit your overall health at the same time.

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Fatigue and Chronic Illness

What is Fatigue and why do I want to talk about it? Simple response, it affects me and most of my “Chronic Babies”! Well okay all of them!!! But everybody gets tired, right, well yes, but we the IBDer’s, the Lupes, the MSer’s, etc, wake up in the morning already exhausted. Why? Well you know when you get the flu or a cold how tired you are, that is because your immune system went into overdrive to fight off whatever has sickened you, you already know this. Because your body’s immune fights, wins then goes back to normal, right? Right. For whatever reason and this is a big unknown, the immune system of a chronically ill person decides it’s owner is the enemy, and you begin fighting yourself, double jeopardy, you are trying to kill you. Your white cells are attacking your red cells, red cells, white cells, white cells killing good bacteria. UGH,,, I’m Tired!!! I have wiped myself out!!!

Joshua E. Robinson

joshuaerobinson

In Your Darkest Moment Always Remember There is Still Hope!!! 🙂

I lie almost everyday

This is very good and pretty much applies to all with a chronic illness.

gut-wrenching truth about crohns

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Today tested my character and broke me down. I am tired of lying. I lie so I must be a terrible person right? Maybe.  Let me explain and you can judge me later.

You: How was your weekend?

Me: It was good. I just lied to you. I sugar-coated my weekend because honestly you don’t want to hear the truth. You don’t want to hear that while it was wonderfully beautiful outside I spent most of the time curled up in a ball fighting the pain in the pit of my stomach and nausea that creeps up whenever it feels like it. (I have Crohn’s disease and that sometimes is my typical weekend.) I also sucked that up for a few hours to work my second job to pay my mounds of accumulating medical bills.

See, you didn’t want to hear the truth. I don’t know why people…

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