12/17/2009 - Questions and Answers

Frequent Broken Bones

By: Mark Castleden

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Question

I've always had the right diet but I keep breaking bones in my legs. My doctor says my bone density is good, but I haven't had a test for it. Could this possibly be medications I'm taking for high cholesterol or high blood pressure?

Answer

Loss of bone density or osteoporosis is determined by a densitometer, a device that the physician uses to determine your bone density by the use of a machine similar to an X-Ray machine. Bone fractures can happen when the density is low and as far as I know this is the only way to determine density. If this hasn't been done then it needs to be ordered to see if you do actually have good bone density. A physical exam cannot determine this for you.

Steroids can cause the loss of calcium, which leads to low bone density and possible fractures. Other related causes are smoking, decreased exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, menopause, thyroid disease and previous stomach surgery. High blood pressure and cholesterol medications do NOT cause a higher incidence of bony fractures.

If your bone density is normal by densitometer then mechanical causes for fractures need to be addressed rather than a systemic disease, medications or daily habits. These include being overweight, having poor foot support, and other mechanical pressures on your feet that a podiatrist should be able to determine. Your physician can also order specific blood tests to rule out other factors that may be affecting your bones.

Created on: 02/01/2003
Reviewed on: 12/17/2009

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