The chronic joint inflammation associated with inflammatory arthritis is one of many factors that may cause loss of bone density. Recognizing the risk early can help you minimize bone loss and possibly treat the problem before it becomes serious.
Avoid Long-Term Steroids
Everyone's situation is different and some people have no other option than to use steroids long-term. However, some instances can be a matter poor treatment planning or concerns associated with the use of narcotics to help with pain. Long-term steroid use, especially at high doses, significantly contributes to bone loss. Ideally, you and your doctor will work together to find medications that are meant to suppress the immune system and minimize or alleviate chronic inflammation. This will reduce the number of flare-ups of the disease and possibly reduce the number of times you need to use steroids.
Pain control is also essential in the management of inflammatory arthritis. Many people take prescription or retail anti-inflammatory pain medications to help. As an alternative, some doctors feel comfortable prescribing tramadol long-term. It is not a true narcotic pain medication and does not have the properties associated with euphoria, making it less likely to be abused.
Of course, it is easier said than done. The pain and disabling effects of inflammatory arthritis are notorious for causing significant limitations in those affected. Inflammation combined with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle will make bone loss worse. If possible, regular walking or swimming can help keep joints flexible and improve your retention of bone density. Try to incorporate resistance training if the pain is not overwhelming. Buying a set of resistance bands will allow you to adjust the amount of resistance and work different parts of your body. Fortunately, many types of resistance band exercises can be performed in the seated position if you are unable to stand at all or for an extended time.
Ask About Tests
Most doctors do not consider bone density loss until your senior years. Unfortunately, with inflammatory arthritis, you may experience decreases in bone density at a significantly younger age. It is important to speak with your doctor about any tests that can be used to determine your bone density and if you can have them at a younger age. Although x-ray is not as useful as a bone density scan, routine x-rays may detect more than progressive damage to your joints caused by inflammatory arthritis. In some cases, a radiologist may notice osteopenia, which can only be seen on x-ray when you have suffered significant loss of bone density, but the loss is not as severe as osteoporosis. If your doctor is diligent about checking your x-rays each year, they might suggest dietary changes to improve your bone health, such as supplements.
Although there is no guaranteed method of avoiding osteoporosis and its consequences, reducing your risks when you have inflammatory arthritis is a start. Contact a medical office like Radius for more information and assistance.