Corticosteroids are an essential part of the treatment of COPD and other inflammation related diseases. Corticosteroids are synthetic versions of steroid hormones that occur naturally within our bodies such as cortisol. They effectively aid in reducing swelling in airways and muscle groups. As beneficial as this family of drugs is, there are some side effects.
Corticosteroids and Bone Loss
One of the unfortunate drawbacks to long term corticosteroid use is that they are detrimental to bone health. It has been proven that regular corticosteroid use for longer than 3 months impedes the way your body absorbs and metabolizes vitamin D and calcium.
What does Calcium do?
Calcium is absolutely essential for our bodies to function. Calcium allows for blood to clot when we cut ourselves. It helps our muscles contract and function properly and is even essential for the beating of our heart. Even participating in all those functions, 99% if the body’s calcium resides in our teeth and bones where it is an essential building block.
The body naturally loses calcium everyday through excreting sweat, urine, and bodily waste. It is also used growing our hair, nails, and new skin cells. If the body doesn’t have a large enough store of calcium to perform these functions, it uses some of the calcium stored in our bones. This is natural and a normal occurrence but if it happens too often it will cause bones to weaken and fracture more easily. The body doesn’t produce its own calcium so we must make sure that we are eating a calcium rich diet or, if your doctor recommends it, taking supplements.