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Exercise and Liver Disease part 3 - osteoporosis
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Melissa Palmer, MD posted:

Exercise is essential in order to decrease the incidence of potentially detrimental bone
disorders. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder frequently associated with liver disease. It
results in decreased bone density, thereby leading to fragile, easily fractured bones. While
osteoporosis is a disease that most frequently affects postmenopausal women, it can also
affect premenopausal women and men with liver disease. Postmenopausal women are
particularly susceptible to osteoporosis because, as estrogen production stops, bone loss
accelerates. Furthermore, women naturally have a lower percentage of muscle and bone
mass than men. This further increases their risk of developing osteoporosis. Other risks
for osteoporosis in people with liver disease include excessive alcohol use, primary
biliary cirrhosis, advanced cirrhosis from any liver disease typically resulting in muscle
wasting, and the use of prednisone. Fortunately, people can reduce the likelihood of
developing osteoporosis by making exercise and a healthy diet part of their lifestyle.
Just as muscles grow in response to muscle contractions, bone strength and density
increase when the muscles attached are contracting. Studies have shown that muscle and
bone growth promoted by frequent weight-bearing exercise is vital to the prevention of
osteoporosis. Supplementing the diet with at least 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams per day of
calcium in combination with vitamin D is also important. If a person already has
osteoporosis, it needn't keep her from exercising, but she will have to use more caution
so as to keep from breaking any bones. High impact aerobic exercises, which involve
jumping and twisting, can increase the risk of injury and should be avoided. Low impact
exercises, such as swimming and walking, are the safest choices for aerobic exercise.
Weight-bearing exercises with light weights can generally be safely performed. Close
attention should always be paid to proper form. Running on a hard surface, such as
concrete pavement, should be avoided. Soft surfaces, such as specially designed running
tracks, a treadmill or a sandy beach, are preferable.
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