Osteoporosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
You may be at a higher risk for osteoporosis if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is due to a number of reasons. For example, pain and loss of joint function caused by rheumatoid arthritis can result in inactivity, which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. Also, some of the medications for RA can make a person more likely to develop osteoporosis by triggering significant bone loss. Strategies for preventing osteoporosis in people with RA include good nutrition, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.
Those affected by rheumatoid arthritis may also have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture.
Although many people tend to think that the main victims of arthritis are older people, there are, in fact, many children and young adults who have rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is divided into two categories:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. When someone has rheumatoid arthritis, the membranes around his or her joints become inflamed and release enzymes that cause the surrounding cartilage and bone to wear away. In severe cases, other tissues and body organs can also be affected.
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms often experience pain, swelling, and stiffness in their joints, especially those in the hands and feet. Motion can be limited in the affected joints, curtailing one's ability to accomplish even the most basic everyday tasks. About one-quarter of those with rheumatoid arthritis develop rheumatoid nodules (bumps) that grow under the skin, usually close to the joints. Fatigue, anemia (low red blood cell count), neck pain, and dry eyes and mouth can also occur in individuals with the disease.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis occurs in children 16 years of age or younger. Children with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis may be candidates for glucocorticoid medication, the use of which has been linked to bone loss in children as well as adults. Physical activity can be challenging in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, since it may cause pain. It is especially important that a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and incorporate physical activities recommended by his or her doctor, so that he or she can build adequate bone mass and reduce the risk of future fracture.