The disease itself, but also treatment and lifestyle are decisive. Doctors therefore appeal: those affected must be informed early enough and bone density measurements made.

4:07 p.m., October 11, 2021


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Lung diseases can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Specialists urge that both affected women and men should be made aware of the problem at an early stage and that precautionary measures should be taken. There are many reasons for the suspected connection, said the pulmonologist Georg-Christian Funk from the Ottakring Clinic in Vienna last week at the annual conference of the Society for Pneumology (ÖGP).

“For severe respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma, which are the most common obstructive airway diseases, but also in the case of rarer, specific interstitial lung diseases and cystic fibrosis, several factors usually come together that significantly increase the risk of pathological bone loss, “said Funk, according to an ÖGP broadcast general inflammation situationwhich can affect not just the airways but the entire body.

Lifestyle factors are crucial

“But also disease-related malnutrition, such as cystic fibrosis or COPD, vitamin D deficiency and lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity – if you have trouble breathing, you don’t like to move – are risk factors for osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures “, emphasized the lung specialist and intensive care doctor.” Smoking leads to an inadequate supply of bone tissue and thus damages the bones further. The annual bone loss in a smoker is roughly twice as high as in a non-smoker “, Funk also warned against tobacco consumption.

Many chronic lung diseases are also treated with inhaled or systemic glucocorticoids, i.e. cortisone preparations, in some cases for many years. Oral glucocorticoids lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis, so long-term use in pulmonology is avoided entirely if possible or the lowest possible dose is selected for the shortest possible duration.

Depending on the illness, bone density measurements would have to be carried out, Funk recommended. “An adequate supply of vitamin D is an important prerequisite for bone health. Also an adequate one Calcium intake must primarily be ensured through food, “he explained. A regular exercise program should definitely be integrated into everyday life. “Good experiences have been made with targeted strength training, for example, but regular, moderate walks are also suitable for promoting bone formation,” reported the doctor.