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Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Feb;26(2):182-5. Epub 2006 Mar 25.

Dietary calcium and bone mineral density in premenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The primary objective of this study was to determine the relationship between dietary calcium intake and bone mineral density (BMD) in premenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) on corticosteroids (CS). The secondary aim was to identify other risk factors for osteoporosis in these patients. A cross-sectional sample of patients attending the SLE Clinic at a teaching hospital was recruited. BMD was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Daily dietary calcium intake was assessed using a structured validated food frequency questionnaire, in which patients were asked to estimate their food intake based on their recent 2-month dietary habits. Sixty subjects were recruited with a mean age of 33.70+/-8.46 years. The median duration of CS use was 5.5 years (range 0.08-24). The median cumulative dose of steroids was 17.21 g (range 0.16-91.37). The median daily dietary calcium intake was 483 mg (range 78-2101). There was no significant correlation between calcium intake and BMD, even after correcting for CS use. There were also no correlations between BMD and the duration of SLE, cumulative CS use, duration of CS use, smoking, alcohol intake, and SLE disease activity index score. Twenty-eight (46.7%) patients had normal BMD, 28 (46.7%) had osteopenia, and four (6.6%) had osteoporosis. Duration of SLE significantly correlated with cumulative CS dosage. In conclusion, 6.7% of these Asian premenopausal SLE women had osteoporosis and only 46.7% had normal BMD. Daily dietary calcium intake did not correlate with BMD.

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