If you experience bone pain, stooped posture, and bone fractures with little or no trauma, you might have osteoporosis. Bone loss is also one of the long-term consequences of growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
As you age, bone resorption increases and bone formation slows down which leads to reduced bone mineral density (BMD), bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures. One of the underlying mechanisms for the imbalance between resorption and formation is the age-related decline in growth hormone (HGH) and insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels.
GHD is a condition which further increases this imbalance and the patients often experience premature and severe forms of osteoporosis. The severity of the GHD also correlates strongly with the degree of bone loss.
Osteoporosis makes your skeleton fragile and bone fractures can occur even if there was no serious trauma. Most commonly these fractures occur in the bones of your hip, wrist, or spine. A collapsed vertebra in your spine will lead to back pain, loss of height, and limited mobility.
Hip fractures involve pain and shortening of the limb. In both cases, the fractures can result in a serious disability, reduced quality of life, or even premature death due to complications.
Other reasons for the occurrence of osteoporosis include early menopause in women and long-term corticosteroid therapy. Genetics, unhealthy habits, and low body weight also play a role.
How HGH affects bone density
HGH and IGF-1 are fundamental for both skeletal growth during childhood and bone health during adulthood. IGF-1 is the main mediator of the anabolic effects of the growth hormone. HGH stimulates its production inside the bone tissue as well as in the liver.
Inside the bone tissue, IGF-1 triggers specific types of bone-forming cells called osteoblasts. At the same time, GH has a direct effect and reduces bone resorption. The result is higher BMD and reduced risk of osteoporosis. Increased BMD contributes to higher bone mass since bones are 60% calcium and phosphate minerals.
IGF-1 also stimulates collagen synthesis which is the main protein inside bones and contributes to their elasticity and strength
How to improve bone density and reduce fracture risk
HGH therapy is the key to treating osteoporosis in GHD patients. The majority of clinical evidence suggests that HGH injections improve both bone density and bone healing after fractures. Patients with hip or tibial fractures experience increased bone healing and rapid clinical improvements with the help of HGH.
HGH therapy can have long-term benefits in postmenopausal women even after they have discontinued the treatment. In 80 women aged 50-70, the number of fractures decreased from 56% to 28% for the next 10 years after continuous HGH therapy.
Long-term therapy can also successfully increase bone mass and BMD in men with osteoporosis
Another area where both men and women can experience GHD-related health problems is sexual function.
Discover more about reduced sexual desire and erectile dysfunction