Prevalence of Osteoporosis in Patients with COPD

3-year Follow-up Study Looks at Progression of Osteoporosis in COPD Patients

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease typed across a computer screenWhen it comes to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), research is limited on both the progression of osteoporosis and its determinants in these patients. It’s known that bone mineral density is typically stable over a 3-year period in patients with COPD. However, the progression of vertebral fractures has not been evaluated in this patient population—even though an increase of vertebral fractures over time may be expected.

In a recent study, researchers looked at clinically stable outpatients who had COPD. Specifically, they investigated the percentage of these patients who were newly diagnosed with osteoporosis after a follow-up of 3 years. They also examined the baseline risk factors for the progression of osteoporosis in patients with COPD.

Results were published online in late February 2012 in the article “Progression of osteoporosis in patients with COPD: a 3-year follow up study.” The article will appear in a future issue of Respiratory Medicine.

Researchers evaluated the following at baseline and then again at 3 years:

  • 6-minute walk distance
  • Body composition measures
  • Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan
  • Lung function parameters
  • X-spine

After reviewing the data, researchers found that the prevalence of osteoporosis in patients with COPD jumped from 47% to 61% in 3 years. They noted that this was mostly due to a rise in vertebral fractures in these patients.

The research team also found that lower baseline T-scores of the trochanter independently increased a patient’s risk for developing osteoporosis. In addition, they noted that baseline vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of osteoporosis 7.5-fold.

Their findings confirmed that the prevalence of osteoporosis increased over a 3-year period in patients who have COPD. Furthermore, this study determined that baseline risk factors for the development of osteoporosis are both vitamin D deficiency and osteopenia at the trochanter.

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