Does having ankylosing spondylitis increase my risk of osteoporosis?

Yes, ankylosing spondylitis does increase your risk of osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to thin and weaken as they become more porous inside.

Decreased bone mineral density is a common complication of ankylosing spondylitis. This is especially true for those who've had the condition for a long time. But some studies suggest it can also affect those who've been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis for a shorter time — less than 10 years.

Although you can't change that you have ankylosing spondylitis, you can take steps to help reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

To help keep your bones strong:

  • Exercise 30 to 60 minutes most days.
  • Eat a balanced diet of nutritious foods, including adequate calcium and vitamin D.
  • Don't smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.
  • Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol in your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Maintain a healthy posture.
  • Take steps to prevent falls, such as wearing low-heeled shoes.
  • Have regular physical exams.

Studies also suggest that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers — sometimes used to treat ankylosing spondylitis — may help maintain or increase bone density in the spine and hip. However, treatment with these medications doesn't appear to decrease vertebral fractures. More research is needed.

June 04, 2019