Osteoporosis in patients with HIV

Posted by: admin on: August 4, 2011

At the age of 56, Jules Levin felt pretty invincible, despite being HIV positive. He went to the gym regularly and controlled his disease well by taking his antiretroviral medicines every day.
Then he slipped one day while on vacation and broke his wrist. He underwent an operation to insert pins in his bones and needed to wear a cast for a month, keep his arm elevated, and then do physical therapy for two months to get to the point where he could lift a five pound weight. After a few simple tests, the reason for Levin’s fracture became clear: His bones were weak from osteoporosis, a disease that’s most commonly seen in older women, but that’s also associated with HIV.

Osteoporosis is one of many conditions associated with old age that is now being seen with increasing frequency in people with HIV. Research suggests that long-term exposure to the virus, and to the inflammation it triggers, make people vulnerable to premature aging and to a host of conditions seen with aging, heart and kidney disease, dementia, and osteoporosis.
Additionally, the overall population of people with HIV is getting older, thanks to improved medical therapy. At present, 1 in 4 people with HIV is age 50 or older.

Compared to other conditions associated with HIV and aging, osteoporosis is relatively straightforward to forestall and treat. To maintain bone strength, it’s important for all people with HIV to make sure they are consuming an adequate amount of calcium and Vitamin D. A recent article in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases recommends 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium and 800 to 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D daily, as well as at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise, such as jogging or walking, at least three days a week. Calcium is plentiful in dairy products and sardines, and is available in supplements such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. The National Institutes of Health has an online information sheet listing ways to get calcium. It’s also important to avoid smoking and heavy alcohol use, since these can cause osteoporosis.

HIV is thought to be associated with osteoporosis for a variety of reasons. The infection, itself, causes inflammation, which in turn impacts the cells that maintain bones. Many conditions common in people with HIV, such as Vitamin D deficiency, being underweight and low testosterone, are associated with osteoporosis.

Levin urges all people with HIV to be assertive about discussing osteoporosis and other age-related conditions with their doctor. “My guess is that 90 percent of patients know nothing about any of this and a lot of clinicians and case managers don’t know about it either,” he said. “Every patient should ask their clinician, ‘are you aware, are you monitoring me for heart disease, diabetes, bone disease, cognitive impairment, and kidney disease?’ This is an important issue for everybody.”

Read More on  http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/04/osteoporosis-patients-hiv.html

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