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Preventing Osteoporosis

It is not known for sure whether people with ulcerative colitis are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (bone thinning). This is true, except in those people who take corticosteroids for long periods of time. In these people, the risk is increased because over time, these drugs interfere with the bone remodeling process and calcium balance. Bone loss increases as the dose of glucocorticoids gets bigger and the duration of therapy gets longer.
Diet (along with other strategies) can play a role in preventing osteoporosis. Some recommendations for optimizing bone health, regardless of whether or not you have ulcerative colitis, include:
  • Eating a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. In most cases, 1000 mg of calcium per day is recommended.
  • Doing weight-bearing exercises. Young people who exercise regularly achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not.
  • Following a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake. Smoking and alcohol are linked to bone loss.
  • Getting a bone density test and medication (see Osteoporosis Medications). Your doctor may also recommend these if you are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis.
(Click Osteoporosis and Ulcerative Colitis for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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