Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Osteoporosis?

Patient XrayOsteoporosis is often seen in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a team led by researchers at the University of Manitoba in Canada. However, the researchers argue that a clear understanding of the relationship between osteoporosis and IBD is unknown.

In a study, they set out to further understand this association. The study, “Inflammatory bowel disease has a small effect on bone mineral density and risk for osteoporosis,” appears in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. It was published online ahead of print in October 2012.

The researchers conducted a population-based study to determine whether IBD raises a person’s risk for low bone mineral density and their risk of osteoporosis. Alternatively, they argue, the 2 conditions may appear together because they are influenced by a host of related factors.

The researchers examined data on 1,230 people with IBD. Patients’ bone mineral density was assessed at various points in the body. The researchers used various statistical analyses (multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses) to determine the extent of independent effects of IBD on patient’s T-score and osteoporosis risk. They were also interested in the impact of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis on patients’ osteoporosis risk.

After controlling for patients’ gender, age, body-mass index, hormone replacement therapy, medication use, and corticosteroid use, the researchers found that IBD had a small but significant effect on patients’ T-scores. However, having IBD did not increase a participant’s risk of having osteoporosis at any site on the body. The results did show that Crohn’s disease was associated with a higher osteoporosis risk.

The study authors argue that their findings demonstrate a small effect of IBD on patient’s bone mineral density. Findings did not support an increased risk of osteoporosis as a result of IBD, but this increased risk was seen in patients with Crohn’s disease. The researchers state that osteoporosis risk in patients with IBD may be related to other known risk factors.

Updated on: 08/25/16
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