What are the long-term effects of menopause on rates of bone loss? Original paper

Bone loss after menopause occurs continuously and appears to decrease by 10% over a period of 25 years.

This Study Summary was published on December 2, 2021.

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Background

After menopause, women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis due to changes in hormone levels. Most of the studies that have measured rates of postmenopausal bone loss have followed women over short durations. What are the long-term changes in bone mineral density (BMD) after menopause, and which factors influence BMD during this time?

The study

This 25-year prospective cohort study in 3,222 women enrolled in the Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention study analyzed changes in femoral neck BMD values, which were measured every 5 years. The participants were allocated into quartiles according to their baseline BMD and also completed questionnaires at each visit to assess risk factors for low BMD.

The results

The results are based on the 686 women who completed the 25-year study. The average total reduction in BMD was 10.1%, with an average annual bone loss rate of 0.4%. The quartile with the highest baseline BMD had greater rates of bone loss, but BMD in this quartile did not drop to the baseline levels of the total population. The highest quartile of bone loss had an 11.1% reductionin BMD, and the lowest quartile had a 7.4% reduction.

Lower baseline BMI and a greater increase in BMI were protective against postmenopausal bone loss. Bone-affecting diseases, vitamin D and calcium cosupplementation, smoking, and alcohol did not appear to affect the rates of bone loss, whereas hormone replacement therapy was associated with lower postmenopausal bone loss.

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This Study Summary was published on December 2, 2021.