If you have gone through a blood or marrow transplant you are likely to be at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (thin bones).  Radiotherapy, steroid treatment and long periods of immobility are the reasons that the risk of osteoporosis increases after transplant.

Your bone density will be checked routinely at one year post transplant and then repeated on an individual basis depending on the results.

Bones are alive and contain collagen (protein), calcium salts and other minerals. Each bone is made up of a thin outer shell known as cortical bone and strong inner mesh of trabecular bone which look like a honeycomb, with blood and bone marrow between the struts of the bone.

Osteoporosis occurs when the struts that make up this structure become thin causing bones to become fragile and break easily. Two types of cells are constantly at work in our bones, building new bone and breaking down old bone. Osteoporosis happens when an imbalance exists between these cells.

What causes Osteoporosis?

The chances of developing osteoporosis are increased by:

  • Some medical conditions, like cancers
  • Osteoporosis in other family members
  • Eating disorders
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol intake
  • Inactivity
  • Low intake of calcium and vitamin D
  • Some medications
    • Steroids
    • Cancer drugs

Osteoporosis is a silent disease and can cause a bone to break following a minor bump or fall. These broken bones which are often referred to as a fragility fractures, are most common in the wrist, hip and spine, although other parts of the body can also be affected. Having osteoporosis does not automatically mean that your bones will break; it means that you will have ‘greater risk of fracture’, and does not generally slow or stop the healing process. Bones that break because of osteoporosis will heal in the same way as they do in people that do not have osteoporosis. Thin fragile bones are not painful but the broken bones that result may cause pain and lead to other problems.

What can be done?

It is vital that that you ensure what you eat will help to keep your skeleton strong. Healthy bones need a well balanced diet.

Effective drug treatment and practical support can reduce the risk of fractures.

Who would give advice or treat osteoporosis in Leeds?

Patients have to be referred to the Osteoporosis service by their own GP.  The service in Leeds is headed by Dr Orme who is the Consultant Endocrinologist, he leads the team and is supported by a team of Registrars. The National Osteoporosis Society can give further information and support via their website:

http://www.nos.org.uk/

This is the NOS booklet on osteoporosis.

Download PDF

 

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