The same medication that you use to treat your asthma could make you susceptible to other debilitating conditions. A certain ingredient that is present in some pills or tablets used to control asthma could weaken your bones, and actually encourage the development of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become fragile and easily broken– most often it affects the spine, wrists, upper arms, pelvis and hips. 30 million women over the age of 50 already have osteoporosis-there is a way to avoid becoming a part of that statistic.
There are several risk factors adding to the likeliness of developing osteoporosis; these include:
- race (Caucasians and Asians are those at highest risk)
- inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake
- low amounts of physical activity
- cigarette smoking
- low body weight
- excessive amounts of alcohol consumption
- taking cortisone-like medications (glucocorticosteroids) or seizure medications.
The reason that understanding osteoporosis is important for people with asthma is on account of the increased risk asthmatics have for losing bone density.
Because asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs, it is treated with anti-imflammatory medications (with ingredients like glucocorticosteroids). Continual use of these sorts of medicines will cause some harmful side effects-like the thinning of bones and proneness to osteoporosis. Drugs like Medrol (generic name: Methylprednisolone), Prelone (generic name: Prednisolone/prednisolon), Deltasone (generic name: Prednisone) contain corticosteroids. Inhalers also contain this ingredient, but inhaling it doesn’t cause the same problems as consuming the drug orally.
How can you prevent asthma medication from causing osteoporosis?
- Make sure that your calcium intake is adequate for your age, gender and physical circumstance (i.e. pregnant, post menopausal, etc)
- Supplement your diet with appropriate amounts of vitamin D, but not excessive (400 International Units per day, unless otherwise directed by doctor)
- Exercise regularly, using weight-bearing exercises (walking, hiking, stair climbing, jogging, etc.)
- Avoid smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol
- Explore different means of alleviating allergic asthma symptoms:
- Avoid allergens
- Utilize an asthma-safe air purifier
- See an Allergist about allergic immunotherapy