Osteoporosis in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Exploring the Factors That Contribute to Bone Loss

Outline of the brain in red pencilWhat are the factors that influence the association between bone loss and Parkinson’s disease? Bone loss is more common in people with Parkinson’s disease than in the general population; however, a host of factors—such as low body mass index, lowered muscle strength, use of certain medications, immobilization, malnutrition, and a lack of vitamin D—may all play a role in this association.

A team led by researchers at Haga Hospital in the Netherlands set out to explore these factors to better understand osteoporosis prevalence and causes of bone loss in people with Parkinson’s disease. Their study, “Bone mineral density and vitamin D status in Parkinson's disease patients,” was published online ahead of print in October 2012 in the Journal of Neurology.

The researchers relied on data from 186 patients with Parkinson’s disease. The average age of the participants was 64.1 years, and 71% of the participants were men. The participants’ bone mineral density (BMD) was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The researchers used univariate linear regression analysis to expose the factors that contributed to patients’ BMD.

Additionally, patients’ 25-OH vitamin D levels were measured and compared against 802 members of a control group (average age 63.3 years; 50% men).

The results of the study showed that both osteoporosis and osteopenia were common in the patients with Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, patients with Parkinson’s disease had lower vitamin D levels than people in the control group, and more than half of the patients with early stage Parkinson’s had abnormal BMD levels. The study results also showed that being a woman, having low weight, and having low levels of vitamin D were all associated with bone loss.

The researchers conclude that their study findings demonstrate a need for careful attention to bone health and vitamin D deficiency in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Updated on: 09/08/16
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