There is a high prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis among male patients with pulmonary disease, according to researchers at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.
“While postmenopausal women are routinely screened for osteoporosis, men are not,” study author Kathleen Ellstrom, PhD, stated in an American Thoracic Society release. “The high prevalence of bone disease we found in male patients referred to our pulmonary rehabilitation program suggests that routine screening should also be performed in men with pulmonary disease.”
In an effort to assess bone density and intervene early in case of abnormal results, Ellstrom and her team performed dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) screening on all patients referred to their pulmonary rehabilitation program during a 2-year span. Abnormal results, according to the study abstract, called for a prescribed combination of alendronate, calcium and vitamin D.
In all, 43 patients ranging from 47 years to 91 years of age completed the DXA scan. Of those 43 patients, 27 (63%) demonstrated positive DXA scans. Of those 27 patients, 21 (78%) had osteopenia and 6 (22%) had osteoporosis.
“Smoking and the use of steroids to treat exacerbations in patients with lung disease are factors known to be associated with an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis,” Ellstrom stated. “Our findings suggest that routine screening for osteopenia and osteoporosis in male patients with pulmonary disease may help reduce the occurrence of fractures in these patients by identifying at-risk individuals that might otherwise not be evaluated and treated.”
- Ellstrom K, Specht NL. High prevalence of osteopenia/osteoporosis in patients referred for pulmonary rehabilitation. Paper #32409. Presented at the American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference. May 18-23. San Francisco.