Last Updated on August 10, 2021 by The Health Master
Steroids are the second commonest cause for secondary osteoporosis (brittleness of bone) in people below 50 years, and the leading cause in people above 50 years. Secondary osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak.
Due to the pandemic, there has been rampant use of steroids to control the infection in symptomatic individuals. While there have been benefits, the side-effects caused by the high doses of steroids cannot be overlooked, and one among them is loss of bone strength.
New bone formation and resorption is a continuous process. Steroids affect the earliest stages of bone formation and hamper calcium absorption, destabilising this balance, thus leading to osteoporosis. It presents itself as body pain, weakness, lethargy and muscle aches.
Studies have shown that even a low dose of steroids taken for a few days can show changes in the bone formation. This can only be reversed if medicines are stopped. With the added help of calcium, Vitamin D3 supplementation, and lifestyle changes, things can improve.
Risk factors increase in cases of obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol, and low nutritional intake. Individuals who have poor health in general or suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or spondyloarthropathy, have a greater chance of being affected by secondary osteoporosis.
People on long-term medications for asthma, seizures, or those who have had intestinal surgeries or endocrine disorders need to take better care.
Get back to good bone strength with appropriate exercises involving weights.
Quit smoking and take a diet rich in calcium. Get 10-15 minutes in the sun between 10 am and 2 pm. Supplement with calcium and Vitamin D3 if necessary. Consult your doctor if you feel exhausted and are unable to undertake small chores.
If you have been left with a lot of body ache post contracting C-19, let your doctor know. The author is Consultant Spine Surgeon, Manipal Hospitals, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru
By Dr Dhiyanesh K