With the widespread reach of COVID-19, many patients recovered from the virus have reported different long-term effects. According to the CDC, reported post-COVID health problems have included headaches, fatigue and sleepiness, continued breathing problems and mood changes. Recently, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found a link between the disease and bone loss.
The university’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, after performing tests on mice infected with COVID-19, determined that a quarter of their subjects lost a significant amount of bone mass. An increase of cells that break down bone mass were also found in the mice (Source: FOX 59)
The Importance of Bone Mass
Over the course of a person’s lifetime, the body produces new bone over old. When the amount of older bones reabsorbed into the body is greater than the amount of new bone produced, the risk of bone loss, or osteoporosis, occurs. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects 10 million people annually, while more than 40 million people suffer low bone density. Of these numbers, half are aged 50 and older (source).
Loss of bone density puts the body at greater risk for bone fractures. A short fall or accident easily recovered by a younger person may result in bone problems for an older patient.
COVID-19 and Bone Loss
Can the coronavirus speed up the risk of bone loss? As research continues, it’s important to maintain safety precautions. If osteoporosis runs in the family, talking with an orthopaedic physician about preventative care is a good step in maintaining bone health.