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Int Urol Nephrol. 2007;39(1):321-31. Epub 2006 Nov 11.

Osteoporosis in the elderly with chronic kidney disease.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Akdeniz University Medical School, Duluphar Bulvari, Kampus, 07070 Antalya, Turkey.


Considering the aging dialysis population of today, increasing our knowledge about the nature, diagnosis and the treatment of bone mineral density (BMD) problems in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients deserves more attention. Osteoporosis is basicly defined as a decrease in bone mass. Large epidemiological studies in general population have identified several risk factors for osteoporosis including advancing age, female gender, white race, decreased calcium intake, gastric acid suppression therapy, sedentary lifestyle, premature loss of gonadal function, decreased estrogen secretion, thin body habitus, decreased physical activity, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, excess glucocorticoid exposure, and possibly some genetic factors. Osteoporosis in ESRD patients is only a part of a wider spectrum of metabolic bone problems, namely uremic osteodystrophy. Therefore, its diagnosis, management and follow-up may differ from the general population and an individualization of diagnosis and definition for dialysis population may be necessary. However, standard diagnostic tools such as dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) have been widely used for the assessment of bone mineral deficiency status in ESRD patients. Regardless of the methods, most of the studies are in concordance with a reduced BMD in HD and PD patients. Dialysis patients are known to be at increased risk for low-trauma fractures. Thinning of cortical bone, which is responsible for the largest contribution toward reduced bone mineral content in chronic renal failure results in increased fracture risk. In either normal population and dialysis patients, fracture risk is increased with age. But in dialysis patients, besides age, several other factors may also affect the degree of bone mineral deficiency, and age-BMD relationship may be blunted. Female sex, in hemodialysis patients is negatively associated with total hip BMD. While several studies have been unable to demonstrate any association between BMD and PTH levels, larger body size has been shown to have a significant positive effect on BMD in both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients. Although they have been used in small groups of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and ESRD patients, because of their potential nephrotoxicity and hypocalcemic effects, use of biphosphonates in renal patients is questionable. Currently, bone biopsy, in order to exclude adynamic bone disease is recommended before beginning treatment with bisphosphonates in chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients.

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