Arm and leg fractures are commonly caused by injuries. Some of the most frequent circumstances that lead to these fractures are car collisions and sports accidents.
From a medical standpoint, there are 3 factors that can cause arm and leg fractures:
- Certain conditions
Moreover, there are multiple factors that influence bone health and increase the chance of suffering fractures:
Age: bones become more fragile with age
Gender: women are generally more prone to suffer fractures than men. The explanation is that women's bones are less dense and significantly smaller than men's. One in two women aged 50 or over will probably suffer from a fracture. Women usually report fractures after the onset of menopause when the levels of estrogen decrease and lead to bone loss.
Smoking: smoking has an impact on the body’s hormones and is correlated with poor bone density. Though it's hard to indicate how much smoking influences bone health, because this habit is often correlated with other risk factors, it's generally believed that smokers are more prone to fractures.
Alcohol consumption: excessive alcohol consumption can increase fracture risk because it affects the bones' density and structure. These effects are correlated with heavy drinking in a person's youth. Even if the person stops drinking later in life, the bone's health might still be compromised.
Chronic diseases: people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disorder or ulcerative colitis present a higher risk of bone fractures. The explanation is that these conditions affect the gastrointestinal tract which is no longer able to absorb the calcium that is so important to the bone's density and growth.
Rheumatoid arthritis: this autoimmune condition which is more common in women than in men is also associated with fractures because the bones are attacked by the disease. The effects of the arthritis are bone loss and severe joint damage which increase the risk of fractures.
Osteoporosis: this condition is typically seen in female patients and it is associated with brittle bones. Due to this condition, the bones become weak and they are more likely to break.
Previous fractures: patients who have suffered from low impact fractures in the past are twice as likely to have another fracture in the future.
Steroid treatments: steroids can be prescribed as a treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, in high doses, they can lead to bone loss and fractures. This is due to the fact that steroids reduce calcium absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and favor its loss through urine.
Low BMI: people with a low body mass index (below 19) are believed to have a higher risk of bone fractures because their bones are smaller and thinner. Moreover, they have less body fat which is useful because it protects the bones from damage during accidents.
Eating disorders: anorexia can increase the risk of arm and leg fractures due to the low intake of nutrients which leads to insufficient calcium.
Thyroid dysfunctions: thyroid problems usually imply an abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Whether the gland is overactive producing too much hormone or underactive, producing too little and requiring hormone replacement therapy, the bone's strength will be affected. Thyroid dysfunctions are associated with bone loss.