Can Thyroid Medication Give Low Bone Density

Can Thyroid Medication Give Low Bone Density
  • Dr. David Nazarian
  • November 24, 2021
  • 0 Comment
  • blog

You are a man of 40, fit and healthy; however, had suffered several broken-bones tragedies? Last year, you broke your left arm and leg, and this year, your wrist. Are they just misfortunes, or do you have low bone density? Low bone density is a condition where your bone density is lower than the average measure. If you have low bone density, my next question is – are you on thyroid medication?

Can thyroid medication give low bone density? To simply put, it often can. Studies suggest that you are likely to get a low bone density if you take thyroid medication for a long time or excessive amounts. However, with proper care and treatment, you can manage your issue. Dr. David Nazarian at Hormone Replacement therapy, LA, is an expert on hormone therapy who can prescribe a perfect thyroid medication plan to put low bone density at bay.

What Is Low Bone Density?

Low bone density, often called osteopenia, is a health condition when your bone density is lower than usual. However, you can not yet call it osteoporosis as it’s not that low enough. Bone density measures how dense and robust your bone is. Having low bone density is not equal to losing bone. However, it may mean you are at a greater risk of getting osteoporosis. People with low bone density are prone to suffer broken-bones incidents compared to people with average bone density. The older you get, the more you approach low bone density.

However, there are several causes for low density: genetic, metabolism disorder, chemotherapy, limited physical activities, smoking, drinking, several diseases, treatments, and medications. For example, when women approach menopause, they often encounter low bone density. Estrogen, the hormone in women, protects bone that usually decreases immensely during or before menopause.

Similarly, low testosterone and low bone density are also related. Due to low-T, the male sex hormones, your bone renews itself too quickly and becomes fragile. However, many consider that thyroid disease and thyroid medication can give low bone density, among the many reasons.

Can Thyroid Medication Give Low Bone Density?

Your body consists of various glands that create and release hormones to run several body functions. The thyroid is one gland that releases two powerful hormones in your body, controlling almost all your body’s primary functions.

However, due to an imbalance in thyroid hormones, your body encounters life-affecting conditions. For instance- excessive thyroid hormone, especially thyroxine in your body, speeds up the bone loss process.

Hypothyroidism or too little hormones and hyperthyroidism or excess hormones are the two prevalent thyroid diseases. Hyperthyroidism causes increased excretion of calcium and phosphorous in the urine and stool. It causes a loss of bone minerals.

Doctors mostly suggest thyroid replacement medication fix the hormonal imbalance in your body. However, there is a strong connection between thyroid hormone medication and bone density- more precisely, excessive thyroid hormones and osteoporosis. While treating low hormone production or hypothyroidism, you take an excessive replacement to resolve the optimum level.

Prolonged medication and an excessive amount of hormones can often lead to symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which can cause low bone density as it increases the activity of the osteoclasts that breaks the old bones. It puts you at a greater risk of breaking a bone.

Excessive thyroid hormones also mean low thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Low TSH due to thyroid medication also intensifies bone density loss as bone formation and bone resorption greatly influence TSH.

Thyroid Diseases And Low Bone Density

Thyroid diseases or imbalanced thyroid hormones are the secondary cause of bone loss- influencing the triggers causing bone density. The abnormal thyroid hormone levels affect your body’s metabolism, thus affecting healthy bone density through the remodeling process. Due to thyroid imbalance, people usually face two primary hormone disorders.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism means the overactive thyroid hormones in your body with a low TSH. Your body produces too much thyroxine that triggers an imbalance of bone-eroding activity by speeding up osteoclasts. As a result, it becomes difficult for bone-building osteoblasts to keep up the race. If in this way, your osteoclasts work faster than the osteoblasts, your bones lose density. They become fragile and brittle and vulnerable to fracture.

Overactivity is the first thing you need to treat first. When your body reaches the optimum level of hormones with medication, low bone density also improves. Moreover, your bones’ strength also intensifies. However, if you have prolonged hyperthyroidism without treatment, you have a higher risk of low bone density and osteoporosis.

The best way to prevent bone density and cure overactive thyroxine is to manage the right balance of T4. It will bring your body back to its standard balanced version and help rebuild your bone density.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroxine has less connection with low bone density comparatively. If you have hypothyroidism, you take medication to raise your thyroid levels too high for a certain period.

This prolonged medication of excessive thyroid hormones leads to the symptoms of hyperthyroidism – thus to overactive thyroxine and super fast osteoclasts. Therefore, you may develop low bone density and even osteoporosis.

Low Bone Density Symptoms

Low bone density causes no noticeable symptoms in your body. You will not notice any pain or change during the thinning of bones. However, the risk of breaking a bone rises immensely as the bone becomes less dense.

Low Bone Density Symptoms - Hormone Replacement Therapy

However, if you have stress fractures in your feet with just your regular activities, fracture a rib for no particular injury, or suffer an arm, wrist, or a hip fracture with a simple fall, ask your doctor for a bone density test. There’s a high possibility of you having a low density and brittle bones. In addition, a stooped back or decreasing height indicates having a massive low bone density in your spines. It may soon turn to osteoporosis if not treated ASAP.

Low Bone Density Prevention

A bone density scan or test helps the doctor diagnose the condition of your bones- density and strength. It will also reveal if you have a high risk of breaking bones or not. If your test report shows low bone density and you are on thyroid replacement medication, the first thing to do is adjust your medicine to an appropriate amount. For this, you have to check your thyroid blood levels regularly to determine the correct dose.

You need to make sure that your thyroxine replacement medication does not become too high. That’s why doctors need to monitor your thyroxine replacement medication carefully. In addition, a routine blood test can also reveal the level of calcium in your blood. It can also determine the strength level of your bones. However, by consulting with your doctor, you can take some measures with your thyroid medication to prevent bone density loss.

  • Monitoring your bone density with a bone density scan regularly
  • Can start an osteopenia medication with the suggestion of your doctor
  • Regular blood tests to check the hormonal levels in your body to ensure it’s not too high
  • Have a healthy diet- make sure to have 3-4 servings of calcium-rich food every day.
  • Your doctor can suggest you a calcium supplement depending on your hormonal levels and bone density.
  • Ensure vitamin D in your life with food – eggs, salmon, sardines, swordfish, etc., and sunlight
  • Exercise is essential as bone forms in response to stress and becomes firm. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, hiking, and dancing are excellent choices.
  • Do balance exercise to avoid falls.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol.

Final Words

Can thyroid medication give low bone density? Yes, it can if you are taking thyroid medication for too long and have symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Overactive thyroxine triggers bone density. However, if you can treat thyroid overactivity by adjusting your medications, your risk of bone loss will reduce, and your bone strength may improve.

Hormone Replacement Therapy, LA, is an exclusive healthcare center. The expert team ensures you get the correct dose of thyroid medication to avoid several concerning conditions, like low bone density. Considering your history, medical condition, test report, preference, and convenience, the doctor will prove an individualized plan best for your overall well-being.

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Dr. David Nazarian

Dr. Nazarian is board certified in Internal Medicine and practices integrative medicine in the heart of Beverly Hills. In his career he has worked in the Emergency Department as well as in the hospital setting as a hospitalist. He has extensive medical training in hormone replacement therapy.

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