Celiac Awareness Month: The Link Between Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis

Every May, we spend the month trying to raise awareness for a disease we all know. Celiac Disease. There are so many people who are still undiagnosed, unaware, or uneducated about Celiac Disease in the United States. I definitely agree that we need to keep spreading awareness for our disease so that people understand and know that it's real. Within our community, Celiac Disease is always talked about year round, but what about the other underlying health problems that come along with it? Osteoporosis is just one of the many serious health problems that can come from undiagnosed Celiac Disease. Years of consuming gluten when the body shouldn't be ingesting it can cause so many problems, osteoporosis being one of them. That's why it's so important to not only spread awareness for Celiac Disease this month, but to also spread awareness for the other health problems that can come along with it.

What is osteoporosis?
"Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thin, weak and break easily, most often from a minor fall. Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, or forover half of the people 50 years of age and older. In New York State alone, more than 3 million men and women have osteoporosis or low bone mass. In the United States, nearly one of every two Caucasian or Asian women over age fifty will experience a broken bone due to osteoporosis. Men and women of other ethnic groups have a slightly lower but still substantial risk fracture." (health.ny.gov)

How is it linked to Celiac Disease?
When you are undiagnosed with Celiac Disease, it causes the body to become majorly deprived of all nutrients, calcium and Vitamin D being some of them. Calcium and Vitamin D are some of the most important nutrients when it comes to bone health. Without them, it could cause you to lose more and more bone density over time. Statistics already show that at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. Those statistics are based on the "normal" human being. So imagine how many more people are at risk for osteoporosis when they were undiagnosed with celiac or they are currently undiagnosed. Your body is unable to absorb those key nutrients which puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis.

How can Osteoporosis be prevented?
Osteoporosis can be prevented in a lot of ways! Of course you can eat nutrient rich foods and make sure to get Vitamin D and Calcium. But the most important thing you can do while you have Celiac Disease is to make sure you follow a strict gluten-free diet. No cheat days, no eating gluten here in there. You have to be 100% gluten-free. You could be getting all the vitamins in the world, but if you're still eating gluten, your body is not going to absorb the vitamins you need. Make sure to take calcium and vitamin D supplements, eat gluten-free, and work on completely repairing yourself from Celiac Disease. That's the only way to keep yourself safe and prevent yourself from getting osteoporosis as much as possible in the future.

What happens if Osteoporosis isn't treated?
"Fractures are a common result of osteoporosis, and many times can lead to having replacements, such as knee and hip. These can have a serious impact on a person's health, happiness and quality of life. Chronic pain, reduced mobility, long-term disability, and loss of independence are just a few. There is an increased risk of another fracture once you've experienced one, as there is always the chance of having to fix previous replacements. Many people are being called back into surgery for the recall of the Zimmer Persona Tibial Plate, one of the options for knee replacements."

Final thoughts:
Although Celiac Awareness Month is about raising awareness for Celiac Disease, we need to raise awareness for the other diseases that come along with it. Osteoporosis is just one of the many diseases that can come from undiagnosed celiac. Infertility, adrenal fatigue, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many others are just some to name.  We need to keep raising awareness for Celiac Disease this month and the next, but we can't forget about the other diseases that come along with it. As long as we are advocating for ourselves, it could be doing a lot to help advocate for others too. We need to keep raising awareness this month and we can help prevent illnesses all across the U.S. one person at a time.

Were you aware that Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis are linked? Comment below!
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