Thyroid hormone screenings may help prevent osteoporosis

In order to prevent osteoporosis, many medical professionals recommend weight-bearing exercise and increased calcium intake. However, post-menopausal women may also benefit from routine thyroid hormone screenings, as endocrine imbalances may cause bone mineral density (BMD) loss.

Dr. Rashmi Gulati, medical director of Patients Medical - a holistic health center in New York - screens her post-menopausal patients for hyperthyroid and low estrogen, as well as performing periodic bone density scans. For those already on thyroid medication, Gulati recommends blood tests confirming hormone balance at least every three months.

"Thyroid disease and hormone imbalance are major factors in bone health," she said. "An overactive thyroid or poorly managed hormone replacement therapy can accelerate BMD loss, which leads to osteoporosis."

By looking at the health of the whole body, physicians may be able to determine the cause of low BMD, and prevent or slow the onset of osteoporosis.

Approximately eight million women and two million men have been diagnosed with osteoporosis in the U.S., according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Another 34 million Americans are estimated to have low bone mass and are at higher risk for the condition.