Female Athlete Triad - Triad Components - Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is defined by the National Institutes of Health as ‘‘a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength predisposing a person to an increased risk of fracture.’’ Low estrogen levels and poor nutrition, especially low calcium intake, can lead to osteoporosis, the third aspect of the triad. This condition can ruin a female athlete's career because it may lead to stress fractures and other injuries.

Immediate Effects of Low Bone Density. Patients with female athlete triad get osteoporosis due to hypoestrogenmia, or low estrogen levels which is part of amenorrhea. With estrogen deficiency, the osteoclasts live longer and are therefore able to resorb more bone. In response to the increased bone resorption, there is increased bone formation and a high-turnover state develops which leads to bone loss and perforation of the trabecular plates. As osteoclasts break down bone, patients see a loss of bone mineral density. Low bone mineral density renders bones more brittle and hence susceptible to fracture. Because athletes are active and their bones must endure mechanical stress, the likelihood of experiencing bone fracture is particularly high.

Additionally, because those suffering with female athlete triad are also restricting their diet, they may also not be consuming sufficient amounts vitamins and minerals which contribute to bone density; not getting enough calcium or vitamin D further exacerbates the problem of weak bones.

Long Term Effects of Low Bone Density. Bone mass is now thought to peak between the ages of 18-25. Thus, behaviors which result in low bone density in youth could be detrimental to an athlete’s bone health throughout her lifetime.

Read more about this topic:  Female Athlete Triad, Triad Components

Other articles related to "osteoporosis":

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