An expert has warned that one of the world's most common neurological ailments, Parkinson's disease, puts patients at increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
While writing in Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Dr Lee M. Zuckerman Chief Resident of orthopedic surgery, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Centre, in Brooklyn said that tremors, body rigidity, and problems with movement caused by PD may lead to complicated orthopedic conditions.
People with Parkinson's often move and walk less than non-suffers and generally stay indoors.
Decreased movement may lead to bone loss, and the reduced exposure to sunlight that generally occurs when patients spend little time outdoors is likely to generate a decrease in vitamin D, which is needed to keep bones strong.
This is particularly harmful to Parkinson's patients, since the combination of decreased bone density and instability from tremors and rigidity caused by PD greatly increase a person's risk of falling and breaking bones.
He said that involving family members in care could significantly improve a patient's health.
"I recommend patients and their families read up on Parkinson's disease so they can prepare themselves for the challenges that come with it," said Zuckerman
This type of early education is important, because it can prevent these secondary problems from occurring. For instance checking bone mineral density and getting treatment for at-risk patients can help reduce the risk of fracture," he added.
Although there are surgical treatments for orthopedic conditions experienced by people with PD, the disease can have a negative effect on recovery.
For instance, the tremors associated with PD have been shown to interfere with the repair and rehabilitation of bone injuries. Those who have had a joint replacement are often relieved of pain and initially have improvements in mobility, but these improvements only last about a year.
"Whether this is because the disease is progressing or because the rehabilitation was insufficient is unclear. So patients now have to decide what they want to accomplish - more mobility or decreased pain.
They have to know that although their pain level should improve, their function may get worse after a year," he added.
The therapies recommended to prevent orthopedic problems in Parkinson's disease include bone density treatment, physical therapy, vitamin therapy medication to increase bone density and optimizing therapies for gait and rigidity.