Loss of bone mineral density (osteopenia), which can lead to more fragile and brittle bones (osteoporosis), is a common condition associated with ageing. Osteoporosis is most common in post-menopausal women.
People with HIV may be at increased risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis because:
- Lifestyle risk factors are more prevalent among people with HIV
- Some antiretroviral medications are associated with increased risk
- HIV may cause metabolic changes that decrease bone mineral density (BMD).
Lifestyle risk factors for osteopenia include:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- A very low body weight?
- Low levels of physical activity
- Lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet
- Low levels of oestrogen or testosterone
Things you can do to reduce your risk:
- Ensure you have plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet
- Do regular weight-bearing exercise
- Stop smoking, and avoid excessive alcohol
- Discuss screening for bone mineral density with your doctor
- For menopausal women, discuss hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with your doctor.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, because it helps:
- increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from the stomach
- regulate the amount of calcium in the blood
- strengthen the skeleton
For Australians, the main source of vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is formed by the action of sunlight (UV light) on the skin. A deficiency of vitamin D can contribute to osteoporosis because without it, calcium will not be fully absorbed by your body.
This page was published on 19 September, 2011
This page was reviewed on 23 December 2015
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