Osteoporosis and Ulcerative Colitis
Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best exercise for your bones is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights, and dancing.
Regular exercises such as walking can help prevent bone loss and, by enhancing balance and flexibility, can also reduce the likelihood of falling and breaking a bone. Exercise is also important for preserving joint mobility.
Smoking is bad for bones, as well as the heart and lungs. Women who smoke tend to go through menopause earlier, which can trigger earlier bone loss. In addition, people who smoke may absorb less calcium from their diets. Alcohol can also negatively affect bone health. Those who drink heavily are more prone to bone loss and bone fractures, because of both poor nutrition and an increased risk of falling.
Bone Density Test
Specialized tests known as bone mineral density (BMD) tests measure bone density in various sites of the body. These tests can detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs and can predict one's chances of fracturing a bone in the future. A person with ulcerative colitis -- particularly someone who has been receiving glucocorticoid therapy for two months or longer -- should talk with his or her doctor about whether a bone density test is appropriate.
Osteoporosis has no cure. However, there are medications available to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Several osteoporosis medications -- including alendronate (Fosamax®), risedronate (Actonel®), ibandronate (Boniva®), raloxifene (Evista®), calcitonin (Miacalcin®, Fortical®), teriparatide (Forteo®), and estrogen/hormone therapy -- are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Alendronate is also approved for use in men.
Alendronate is approved for the treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in women and men, which is possible for people with ulcerative colitis who are taking glucocorticoids long-term. Risedronate is approved for both the treatment and prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.