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Eric Hesch: The Link Between Osteoporosis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Eric Hesch, is an experienced gastrointestinal (GI) tract specialist with more than 20 years under his belt. He deals with patients suffering from various inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in his line of work, diseases which often have symptoms like weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever.

The causes of IBD are not entirely known; researchers attribute the causes to some factors. In all cases, medication is prescribed to control the symptoms, and surgery is also considered where the condition is severe.

Bone degradation

Bone degradation commonly occurs as osteoporosis, a condition where bone density reduces over time. Fractures are common in people with osteoporosis, and they cause significant pain. It is a preventable disease, but one that has to be diagnosed early for treatment to be effective. But for people with IBD, osteoporosis is a real risk.

The link

IBD treatment usually involves medications called glucocorticoids (for example, cortisone) that reduce the inflammation in the digestive tract. With continued use, these drugs interfere with the growth of healthy bone. Prolonged use of glucocorticoids often leads to bone loss.

Additionally, people who have their parts of their bowels surgically removed as a result of IBD can present difficulties in absorbing vitamin D and calcium. These nutrients are essential for proper bone development.

To ensure the optimal bone health, people with IBD should consume diets rich in vitamin D and calcium, and exercise regularly. Medication may be necessary to prevent bone loss.

Eric Hesch is an experienced medical doctor (MD) who runs a private practice in Denver, Colorado.

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