Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only affects the joints but it can also lead to long-term problems in bone health, such as osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease which causes bones to become brittle, porous (less dense) and weakened, leaving them susceptible to fractures. Studies have found that people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
The reasons why the two are linked are numerous. Complications of RA, including systemic inflammation, the use of glucocorticoids or corticosteroids and loss of mobility can all further the development of osteoporosis.
People with RA who have developed osteoporosis may not know they have the disease because it often goes undetected until the bones fracture. However, there are several lifestyle changes they can apply to reduce their risk, such as:
- Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Getting adequate sunlight to receive vitamin D
- Exercise (weight bearing exercise)
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Taking recommended bone density tests
It is recommended that you speak with a doctor before making changes as each person’s case is unique. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to treat osteoporosis.
To schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206
-6742 or 718-206-7001. The Division of Rheumatology at Jamaica Hospital provides consultations for patients who develop rheumatological disorders, such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. There is a twice-monthly arthritis clinic and bone mineral density testing for diagnosing osteoporosis.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.