Refraining from alcohol reduces the risk of osteoporosis

Refraining from alcohol reduces the risk of osteoporosis

How sporting activities and abstaining from alcohol lower the risk of osteoporosis

Refraining from alcohol improves the bone density of alcohol-dependent patients after only eight weeks of abstinence. This was the result of a study by the Medical University of Innsbruck. According to the study results, sporting activity should also have a positive impact on bone metabolism and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Counteract osteoporosis with abstinence from alcohol and sports
Osteoporosis mainly occurs in the elderly. Postmenopausal women are affected about five times more often than men. As scientists from the Medical University of Innsbruck found back in 2010, alcoholism increases the risk of osteoporosis even in young men. The subsequent study showed that the bone density of alcohol addicts improved significantly after an abstinence phase of eight weeks. The results also indicate that exercise also has a positive effect on bone metabolism. The study results were published in the specialist magazine "Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research".

Peter Malik from the Innsbruck University Clinic for Biological Psychiatry led the follow-up study. "We found that after eight weeks of abstinence there was almost a balance between bone growth and breakdown, which in turn suggests a direct effect of alcohol on the function of bone-forming cells," explains the expert. The results also indicate a positive relationship between physical activity and bone metabolism. “Our results show that those alcohol-dependent patients who also exercised regularly while drinking had better bone density. Therapy programs for abstinence should always include physiotherapy or sporting activities, ”explains Malik. He generally advises bone density measurements in alcoholics, especially if there are other risk factors for those affected, such as nicotine consumption or taking medication with a negative impact on bone metabolism.

Early treatment for osteoporosis can prevent further progression
Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases that occur in old age. The metabolic disease of the bones means that more bone mass is broken down than is newly formed. As a result, the skeleton suffers from a loss of stability and bone fractures occur. The causes of osteoporosis include genetic factors on the one hand, but also estrogen deficiency after the menopause, permanent cortisone intake, hyperthyroidism or other diseases. The way of life, especially the diet, also has a decisive influence. A lack of physical activity is beneficial for osteoporosis.

In order to prevent the disease, doctors therefore recommend regular exercise, calcium-rich food and an adequate supply of vitamin D. You should avoid eating "bone robbers" such as nicotine and alcohol as well as foods rich in phosphates such as meat or sausage, cola or coffee.

A simple bone density measurement is sometimes sufficient to diagnose osteoporosis. Computer tomography, blood tests or mobility tests by an orthopedic surgeon can also provide information. If there is a diagnosis of osteoporosis, drug therapy is given. A number of pharmaceutical substances specifically counteract bone loss and at the same time stimulate their build-up so that broken bones can be prevented. In addition, the spine may be stabilized with surgery or an unstable joint replaced to avoid further injury. Early treatment can successfully stop the progression of osteoporosis in many patients, reduce the risk of complications, and even increase bone density again. (ag)

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