Several studies have found that fibromyalgia patients have lower bone mineral densitiy as compared to controls. This is a concern as it increases risk of Osteoporosis in later years. In particular, a 1999 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology suggest that early identification of osteoporosis symptoms and prevention is crucial in reducing pain and improving health-related quality of life in fibromyalgia patients.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disorder that is qualified by low bone density and bone tissue deterioration. This condition results in fragile and weak bones and increases the risk of fractures specifically in the areas of hips, shoulder, wrist and spine. Osteoporosis is often referred as the “silent thief” due to the deterioration of bone tissue without showing any symptoms at all.
What leads to the Osteoporosis?
Some of the primary causes of osteoporosis are:
- Lack of calcium content in body.
- Hormonal imbalances, especially in individuals suffering from thyroid and diabetes.
- Low level of estrogen in women and testosterone among men.
- Smoking is one of the main reasons that leads to weak bone density.
- Certain types of medications meant for ailments like asthma, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. can lead to loss of bone and painful fractures.
- Deficiency of Vitamin D
- When you lead an inactive lifestyle without much movement.
- Addiction to alcohol
What is the link between Fibromyalgia and Osteoporosis?
The condition of osteoporosis is commonly found among elderly women mainly because of the deficiency in calcium. Other than a lack of calcium, intake of certain pharmaceutical drugs can cause bone density reduction and thereby trigger muscle spasms and aches, weakness and fatigue. Several studies have found that osteoporosis is common in women who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Both fibromyalgia and osteoporosis share a couple of similar risk factor which are lack of Vitamin D, lack of cellular calcium and lack of physical activity. Does this mean that fibromyalgia is the reason behind osteoporosis? Well, the answer is not definite but there are substantial studies that support this theory.
A 1999 study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, investigating whether fibromyalgia is a risk of Osteoporosis found a trend of lower bone mineral density in fibromyalgia patients compared to controls. This study suggest that early detection and prevention of osteoporosis via supplements and exercise are important for bone and overall health of fibromyalgia patients. A another 2000 study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, suggest that the lower bone mineral density observed in fibromyalgia patients could be due to an inability to metabolise calcium causing increased risk in Osteoporosis.
Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which hampers proper digestion and nutrient absorption in your body. This could cause a lack of nutrients such as vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium etc leading to brittle and weak bones. Of course, a lack of intake of food sources rich in the essential nutrients plays a huge part too. The lack of essential nutrients not only cause fragile bones but can also weaken your immune system. It was also found that fibromyalgia patients who develops osteoporosis suffer from more severe symptoms of the bone disorder.
Prevention and care is must for fibromyalgia patients. What can be done?
- Engage in regular workout sessions
- Limit your alcohol consumption and stop smoking
- Get a well balanced nutritious diet full of Vitamin D and calcium
- Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
When you have a disorder like fibromyalgia, it is even more important that you consume a healthy diet with adequate essential nutrients and lead a healthy lifestyle. Make sure that you are including all the abovementioned pointers in your daily routine and fight against fibromyalgia.
- Swezey R. L, Adams J. Fibromyalgia: a risk factor for osteoporosis. J Rheumatol. 1999 Dec;26(12):2642-4.
- Dessein PH, Stanwix AE. Why would fibromyalgia patients have osteoporosis? J Rheumatol. 2000;27:1816–1817.
- Young-Sang Kim et al. Women with Fibromyalgia Have Lower Levels of Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Manganese in Hair Mineral Analysis. J Korean Med Sci. 2011 Oct; 26(10): 1253–1257.