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Am J Med. 2003 Jan;114(1):10-4.

The risk of osteoporosis in Caucasian men and women with obstructive airways disease.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



Because patients with obstructive airways disease may be susceptible to osteoporosis, we sought to determine the association between airflow obstruction and osteoporosis.


We analyzed data from Caucasian participants (n = 9502) in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted in the United States between 1988 and 1994. We used data from dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry measurements of the total femur to determine whether a study participant had osteoporosis (defined as total bone mineral density values < or =2.5 SD below the corresponding mean values from young, healthy participants). We calculated the odds ratio (OR) for osteoporosis in four lung function categories: none, mild, moderate, and severe airflow obstruction.


Overall, airflow obstruction was associated with increased odds of osteoporosis compared with without airflow obstruction (OR = 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4 to 2.5). Participants with severe airflow obstruction were at especially increased risk (OR = 2.4; 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.4). Moderate but not mild airflow obstruction was also associated with osteoporosis.


Airflow obstruction was an important risk factor for osteoporosis in the study population. These data highlight the importance of measuring bone mineral density in those with moderate-to-severe airflow obstruction for the detection and prevention of osteoporosis-related morbidity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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