Study shows that Holocaust survivors have increased risk for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, which is described as the weakening of bones, can be a result of starvation and emotional stress. These findings were reported in a recent study conducted by Dr Iris Vered of the Endocrine Institute at the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Vered studied a number of Holocaust survivors and found that individuals who were children or teens during World War II are at higher risk of having decalcified bones than those who grew up before or after that time period. Her findings were published in the Tel Hashomer Newsletter.

Holocaust survivors often suffered from severe shortages of vitamin D and other nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, due to their minimal diet in concentration camps or in hiding. Starvation and traumatic events also reduce the production of sex hormones, which can affect bone mass. In girls, the onset of menstruation was delayed and this affected bone development as well the news source reports.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, which is chronic in many Holocaust survivors, increases the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which is another risk factor for osteoporosis.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, bones that are affected by osteoporosis become brittle and can fracture with minor falls.