Can Thyroid Problems Cause Osteoporosis?

Weight gain and fatigue go hand-in-hand with thyroid problems, but did you know that an unhealthy thyroid can mean unhealthy bones, too?

Osteoporosis is considered a silent disease because it displays no obvious signs. Not surprising then, that it creeps up on 80 percent of Indian women and nearly 1.5 million Indian men. The same goes for bone density loss caused by thyroid problems. This means that many people are unaware of any bone health issues until an injury occurs. A minor slip can often lead to a fracture, thereby setting in motion a series of tests to determine why, after such a small incident, the bones broke.

Weak bones can be attributed to low levels of calcium and vitamin D, but that's not all. There are more factors — like your thyroid's health — to consider.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Our bones are constantly being remodeled to allow the skeleton to grow and repair. During this process, some bone is dissolved and replaced with new bone. This bone replacement is affected by multiple factors, which include calcium and vitamin D, physical activity and hormones. Any imbalance in these factors affects the intricate balance of your bone replacement, causing reduced bone mineral density and, ultimately, osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, which means "porous bones," weakens your bone architecture, making bones fragile and more susceptible to breakage. With normal ageing, bone density loss begins after you turn 35, resulting in primary osteoporosis. In post-menopausal women, bone loss increases due to the lack of oestrogen, resulting in post-menopausal osteoporosis.

Other conditions — such as Cushing's syndrome, hypoparathyroidism and thyroid hormone disorders — could also be weakening your bones. Several medications may also lead to reduced bone mineral density, resulting in the weakening of bones.

The Link Between Thyroid Problems and Osteoporosis

Although they're frequently associated with weight issues, thyroid problems are also linked to bone health. Your thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the metabolism of the entire body, including the bones. Any disturbance in thyroid hormones levels disrupts the intricate balance of bone dissolution and replacement at multiple molecular levels.

High levels of thyroid hormones, or hyperthyroidism, cause rapid bone loss, and new bone might not be as strong as the bone lost. This process of increased bone loss over time causes osteoporosis. Hypothyroidism, which slows your body's metabolism, also slows down your bone's metabolism. In people with hypothyroidism, the bone formation process is slowed 50 percent, and bone resorption 40 percent.

How to Maintain or Improve Bone Health

  • Modify your diet: Since nutrition still plays an important factor in governing bone health, it's important to take the recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D, alongside other vitamins and minerals, like phosphorous and magnesium.
  • Get some physical activity:As a general rule, 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day is recommended. In addition to walking, strength exercises are specifically good for bone health. However, if you are already at a higher risk for fractures, you should consult a certified physical trainer and your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. To stay motivated, keep your exercise routines unique and creative.
  • Make some lifestyle changes: Maintain a healthy weight. If you smoke, quit. If you consume alcohol, do so only in moderation and don't make a habit of it. Get your health assessed and have your doctor review the medications you're taking.
  • Pay attention to thyroid problems: Do not neglect thyroid disorders, even if you're not having any apparent problems. The disorder could be weakening your bones without any signs of that happening. Stick to the medications your doctor has prescribed. It's important to get your thyroid hormone levels checked regularly because the dose of your medications might need to be changed with time.

Ensuring adequate intake of minerals and vitamins and getting regular physical activity will help you have better control of your body, but you can also take these precautions to avoid falls that often result in fractures.

  • Keep your home/workplace organised to avoid tripping over things.
  • Keep your bathroom floor dry. Have non-slippery tiles on the floor.
  • Keep items within easy reach and avoid using a step stool.
  • Avoid using carpets that are easy to slip on.
  • Have grab bars or handles in bathrooms.
  • Wear shoes with anti-slip soles.
  • Use stairs carefully, and keep an eye on the steps. Use handrails while using the stairs.
  • Take steps slowly and carefully. Do not rush to pick up the phone or answer the door.

While the risk of osteoporosis and fractures can increase with thyroid problems and other medical conditions, these tips will help you take control of your bone health.


Disclaimer: This publication/article/editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.