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Menopause. 2006 May-Jun;13(3):462-6.

Osteoporosis and bone metabolism in postmenopausal women with osteoarthritis of the hand.

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Rheumatology Division, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.



Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are two major health problems affecting postmenopausal women. Epidemiological observations seem to demonstrate a possible inverse relationship between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Erosive osteoarthritis (EOA) of the hand is a destructive form of primary osteoarthritis. This study evaluated bone mineral density and bone metabolism changes in erosive and nonerosive hand osteoarthritis women.


Fifty-five women (mean age, 59 years; body mass index, 23 +/- 1.4 kg/m) who had been postmenopausal for an average of 9 years and who presented with hand osteoarthritis according to American College of Rheumatology criteria were enrolled in the study; 15 women showed clinical and radiological evidence of hand EOA. Twenty women matched for age, age at menopause, and body mass index formed the control group. Bone mineral density (g/cm) was measured at the hip and lumbar spine using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Serum and urinary calcium and phosphate, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone, osteocalcin, and urinary breakdown products of bone matrix (CrossLaps) were analyzed.


Women with hand EOA had a statistically significant lower T- and Z-score L2-L4 value than non-hand EOA women and controls (P < 0.01). Moreover, postmenopausal women with hand EOA had higher significant percentage of osteoporosis at lumbar spine when compared with non-hand EOA postmenopausal women and controls. Any statistically significant difference in osteocalcin and CrossLaps serum levels was noted among women with hand EOA, hand osteoarthritis, and controls.


Our data suggest that postmenopausal women with clinical and radiological EOA are at risk for development of osteoporosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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