Lower bone density and mineral content may be common in people with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS), possibly due to reduced physical activity, a study indicates.
“Based on the results of this study, we suggest that healthcare workers recommend, as in healthy people, regular physical activity and muscle strength training in people with hEDS and G-HSD. [generalized joint hypermobility spectrum disorder] for bone maintenance,” the researchers wrote.
The study, “Bone Parameters in Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Studywas published in the journal Bone.
Bone Health Key to Determine Risk of Bone Fractures
Both hEDS and generalized joint hypermobility spectrum disorder (G-HSD) are characterized by disease symptoms such as unusually mobile joints, chronic pain, and fatigue. People with either of these conditions usually find it difficult to exercise and may have reduced muscle strength.
Although it may affect bone health, little research has been done in adults with hEDS or G-HSD. A team of scientists from the University of Ghent, Belgium, set out to find out more.
“As people with hEDS and G-HSD have impaired gait, reduced coordination and balance, and a higher incidence of falls, knowledge of the bone characteristics of this population is of great importance in estimating their fracture risk,” the researchers wrote.
The study included 20 women with hEDS, 20 with G-HSD, and 37 women without the condition as a control group; their average age ranged from 40.8 to 43.8 years. Individuals with hEDS or G-HSD scored significantly lower on measures of physical activity than controls, but no differences in medical history were observed between the three groups.
A technique called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA, was used to measure bone density and mineral content, as well as muscle and fat mass, in all of these people.
“This study was the first to assess bone mass, density, geometry, and estimates of bone strength in people with hEDS and G-HSD diagnosed using the most recent 2017 criteria,” the authors wrote. scientists.
Significantly less muscle mass was evident in people with hEDS or G-HSD compared to controls. There were no significant differences between the two groups of patients.
Patients in both groups also had significantly lower bone mineral content in the cortical bone area (the outermost dense layer of bone) compared to controls, and the mean cortical bone area was significantly smaller in those affected. of hEDS or G-HSD.
The hEDS patients also had reduced bone mineral content in trabecular bone, a type of spongy bone tissue, and significantly lower bone density compared to the control group.
Although these differences were statistically significant in the initial comparisons, when the researchers made statistical adjustments to account for differences in physical activity, most measures were no longer significantly different.
This suggests that the difference in bone health is mainly due to a lack of mechanical loading, the scientists noted. In other words, since people with hEDS or G-HSD tend to be less active, their bones work less to support their body, resulting in less activation of biological pathways that normally help maintain bone health.
“This study showed no different bone profile between individuals with hEDS and G-HSD, suggesting that their bone deficiencies might not be reflected by the different diagnostic classification,” the researchers wrote. “Rsuggested results mineral lower cortical bone smaller contents and cortex in people with hEDS and G-HSD, and lower trabecular bone mass and density in people with hEDS” compared to a control group, “which could be largely explained by a lower mechanical load.
The results indicate that regular exercise may help improve bone health in people with hEDS or G-HSD, the researchers concluded.
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