Background Osteoporosis (OP) is a disease of high occurrence in the older-aged population. Early diagnosis may trigger an efficient medication, which could slow down or even stop the decrease of bone mineral density (BMD), leading so to a noticeably decrease of the risk for bone fracture in old age. Reducing the incidence of osteoporosis is of utmost importance for both the individuals and the society, so it is not only of medical importance to identify individuals with a higher-than-average risk of developing osteoporosis.
Objectives The aim of this work is to investigate the role of inheritance in osteoporosis as mirrored by basic diagnostic methods. It is also of practical interest to establish the applicability of the by now routinely applied dual energy X-ray absorption (DEXA) method for early diagnostics of BMD for patient groups with a suspected tendency to inherited osteoporosis.
Methods The patient study group consisted of 28 mother- daughter pairs. The mothers (age group: 60–85 y) were suffering in a severe form of osteoporosis as shown for each of them by crush fractures of the vertebrae. The study of the BMD values was directed to the group of daughters of mothers suffering from osteoporosis (DMO). For the daughters (29–58 y, average age: 49 y), medication and coexistence of other diseases influencing BMD were excluded.
The control group consisted of healthy reference persons, matched to persons in the DMO group.
BMD values were determined by DEXA measurements on the lumbal spine (L2–4) and on the femoral neck, employing a Norland XR-26 densitometer, with an excellent coefficient of reproducibility (0.77%) over the 1.5 y of the investigations.
Data significance was established by the t-probe analysis.
Results BMD values referring to L2–4 were significantly lower for the DMO (0.86 ± 0.15 g/cm2) as for the control group (1.02 ± 0.16 g/cm2), whereas BMD results for the femoral neck were (0.76 ± 0.11 g/cm2) and (0.90 ± 0.14 g/cm2), respectively. The difference of the BMD values for L2–4 was about 20%, whereas for the femoral neck it amounted to 21%. There is an indication that the peak BMD values for the DMO groupremain lower than those for the control group.
Conclusion These findings point strongly to the role of inheritance in the epigenesis of osteoporosis.
It is concluded that for individuals with increased genetic risk of osteoporosis an appropriate strategy, combining increased calcium uptake with an educated application of physical exercise, should be worked out.
Such a complex treatment could also increase the BMD values before menopause.
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