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Bone. 2007 Feb;40(2):493-7. Epub 2006 Oct 13.

Low bone mineral density is related to severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Glittreklinikken, Pb 104 Aaneby, 1485 Hakadal, Norway.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) appears to be associated with low bone mineral density (BMD). BMD loss can be accelerated by a number of factors associated with COPD, but it is not known whether COPD itself has a direct effect. Our aim was to investigate in a cross-sectional study whether COPD patients have lower BMD than healthy individuals, and whether the severity of the disease affects BMD. Eighty-eight COPD patients attending a rehabilitation program were classified into stages II, III and IV using GOLD criteria. BMD was measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry in lumbar spine (L2-4), femoral neck (FN) and total body (TB). Values were converted to Z-scores (adjusted for age and sex). Associations between Z-scores and steroid use, body mass index, pack-years and six-min walking distance were analyzed. The Z-scores (mean and (CI)) for all patients were for L2-4: -0.6 (-0.9, -0.3), FN: -0.8 (-1.0, -0.5) and TB: -0.5 (-0.8, -0.2). All scores were significantly different from those of a control population (p<0.001). For all three variables (ZL2-4, ZFN, ZTB) there were significant differences between the stages. The difference for ZL2-4 was still significant after adjustment for risk factors. We conclude that BMD is low in COPD patients and decreases with increasing severity of the disease. Low BMD may to some extent be a disease-specific effect.

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