Modified: January 13, 2023

Do All Steroids Cause Induced Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures?

Answer: No. Anabolics and Androgenics can actually fight bone loss, whereas Corticosteroids can cause bone weakening. Let’s explore with an injury lawyer, Michael Ehline, an expert in sports medicine law. When over-the-counter medications fail to provide relief to patients, doctors often prescribe a corticosteroid, which works as cortisol, a naturally producing hormone produced by the body’s adrenal glands. Many people don’t know that although corticosteroids are effective in treating many ailments, long-term use can lead to osteoporosis. However, anabolics, including Bio Pellets, can help males and females with libido problems (beware of an enlarged clitoris and developing a deeper voice for women). Androgens, the Anavar (Oxandrolone of Spa Milano Labs), is beneficial for bones.

Let’s explore the uses and risks of consuming corticosteroids with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.

Types of Steroids

There are two main types of steroids; corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids (anabolic steroids). Anabolic steroids bind to the androgen receptors, assisting users in building muscle (anabolic) and increasing male characteristics (androgenic), whereas corticosteroids bind to the glucocorticoid receptors helping treat various medical conditions.

What Are Corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids, often shortened to steroids, are man-made synthetic drugs that help curb the production of certain chemicals in the body, alleviating inflammation, swelling, and irritation. Medical professionals may prescribe corticosteroids to treat asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, hives, or lupus.

Although corticosteroids can help several types of patients live a better life, it has long-term side effects such as osteoporosis (loss of bone density) and others.

How Can Patients Take Steroids?

There are two ways steroids help medical professionals treat various kinds of diseases, and these include the following:

  • Localized: Doctors prescribe localized steroids to target the outer body, including eye drops, ear drops, inhalers, skin creams, and ointments.
  • Systemic: Outer application of steroids may not be as effective for certain health conditions, which is why doctors may prescribe systemic steroids that flow throughout the body to where it is needed. Medical professionals may deliver systemic steroids through oral medications, muscle injections, or intravenous (IV) lines.

There are many different brands of corticosteroids, some of which include Prednisone, Cortisone, Triamcinolone, and Mometasone.

What Do Corticosteroids Treat?

From treating seasonal allergies to life-threatening inflammation, there are a lot of uses for corticosteroids.

Doctors may recommend steroid treatment for the following health conditions:

  • Hay fever
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Eczema
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gout
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Autoimmune diseases.

When the immune system fails to work correctly, the body can start producing chemicals that cause internal harm. Medical professionals may recommend steroids to lower inflammation and prevent damage.

In patients who have undergone an organ transplant, there is always a risk of the body rejecting the organ. To reduce the risks associated with a transplant, medical professionals may prescribe steroids to the patient, which can help suppress the immune system.

Can the Use of Corticosteroids Lead to Corticosteroid-induced Osteoporosis?

The body uses calcium and Vitamin D to build bones, and the use of corticosteroid, in the long run, can reduce how the body absorbs calcium and increases the speed of bone breakdown. The rate at which corticosteroid reduces absorption ability and increases bone breakdown depends on the dosage and the period you take the steroid medication.

In higher doses, steroids can lead to rapid bone loss. However, not all people experience a similar rate of bone loss. Dosage, duration, and genetics play a vital role in the rate of bone loss following the use of steroids.

How Quickly Can Bone Loss Start after Consuming Steroids?

Bone loss (bone mineral density loss) following steroid consumption depends on the type of steroid taken (localized or systematic). For example, after consuming oral steroids, patients may experience bone loss after six months of continuous use. On the other hand, inhaled steroids do not have a similar rate of bone loss as compared to the consumption of oral steroids. However, in larger doses, it may also cause loss of bone mass.

Several studies show that patients using steroids in the short run do not exhibit any signs or symptoms of bone loss.

Does Steroid Use Increase the Risk of a Fracture?

Oral steroids equal to 5 mg of Prednisone consumed daily for more than three months increase the risk of bone fractures. As the dosage increases, so does the fracture risk. 

According to multiple studies, one in three postmenopausal women who routinely consume corticosteroids is likely to suffer a spinal fracture. Taking steroids increases the risk of spinal fractures twice as much as a person who does not consume such drugs.

After stopping steroid medication, the risk of bone fractures or vertebral fractures reduces significantly. However, it is crucial to speak to your healthcare professional before making personal decisions pertaining to medication.

Diagnosing and Treating Corticosteroid or Glucocorticoid-induced Osteoporosis

When patients start steroid treatment for their medical conditions, conducting a Bone Densitometry, a special scan that measures bone density is crucial. After a year of steroid medication use, patients should conduct second Bone densitometry to help diagnose corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis (also known as glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis). Monitoring bone density when using steroid medication is the only way to diagnose steroid-induced osteoporosis.

Before medical professionals recommend taking a corticosteroid, they identify risk factors in patients that help them determine a treatment plan. People with lower bone mass or postmenopausal women who are not on estrogen are at a higher risk of bone loss when taking steroids.

In cases of loss of bone density due to the intake of steroids, doctors may recommend the same treatment plan to patients with osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy helps prevent osteoporosis in women, but it comes with side effects, such as an increased risk of blood clots, heart diseases, and many others.

Undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with medroxyprogesterone acetate, in the long run, can increase the risk of breast cancer. With other drugs or treatments, HRT combined treatments can lead to vaginal bleeding.

Medical professionals may consider alternatives to HRT treatment to help reduce the rate of bone loss and increase bone density over time, and some of these treatments include the following:

  • Bisphosphonates
  • Raloxifene
  • Calcitonin
  • Tamoxifen
  • Statins.

Are Anabolic-androgenic Steroids Different than Corticosteroids?

Unlike corticosteroids that help treat various medical conditions, anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone (male sex hormones that aid in building muscle).

Medical professionals prescribe anabolic steroids to help produce testosterone when a patient’s body does not make enough of them or in young boys who experience delayed puberty. Due to certain illnesses that cause muscle loss, such as AIDS and cancer, a doctor may prescribe anabolic steroids to build muscle mass.

In the sports world, anabolic steroid medications are also referred to as “performance-boosting” drugs. Athletes are often banned from taking such steroids as they can help with their athletic performance and muscle mass, giving them an unfair advantage over other athletes.

Do Anabolic Steroid Medications Cause Bone Loss in Patients?

Androgen inhibits osteoclastic bone resorption, and there are several anabolic steroids that are approved as anti-osteoporosis medication. In a 2008 study, “Effect of anabolic steroids on osteoporosis,” conducted by Masahiro Adachi and Ryoichi Takayanagi, the use of anabolic steroids in a group of patients showed a significant increase in bone mineral content in the radius and lumbar spine.

Another study, “Anabolic steroids improve bone mineral density,” conducted in 2014 by Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay et al., revealed that a low dose of anabolic steroids can significantly help improve bone mass and quality of life in the elderly.

How to Prevent Bone Density Loss

Bone and Tooth Society of Great Britain, recommends guidelines for preventing and treating corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. Regardless of whether or not you have osteoporosis, it is crucial for everyone to take certain steps to prevent bone density loss and improve bone health, including:

  • Fulfill your daily calcium and Vitamin D requirement: Milk, Yogurt, cheese, broccoli, salmon, and orange juice are some examples of calcium-rich food. Those who cannot consume such food items or have limited access to them may consider taking calcium supplements.

The following are the daily requirements of calcium and Vitamin D for different groups of people:

  • Women on HRT treatment: 1,200 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily.
  • Women with an increased risk of steroid-induced osteoporosis: 1,500 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily
  • Men (under 65 years of age): 1,000 mg of calcium daily
  • Men (over 65 years of age): 1,500 mg of calcium daily
  • Exercise: Certain types of strength training help strengthen muscles and reduce bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking and jogging can help support the bones in the legs, hips, and lower spine.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium, increasing bone loss.
  • Avoid alcohol: Drinking more than two glasses of alcohol daily cuts bone formation and reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium. However, there is a need for further studies into the link between alcohol intake and osteoporosis.
  • Reduce caffeine intake.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

Not all steroids lead to osteoporosis or bone loss, as several studies suggest that medical professionals use anabolic to treat bone conditions. However, medical professionals must follow certain standards and guidelines before recommending steroid treatment to patients.

If you suffered injuries due to a negligent medical provider that did not consider your health or medical history before prescribing steroids, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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