Bone Density and Broken Backs in AS

Ankylosing spondylitis patients with low bone mineral density may have higher risk of vertebral fracture

(RxWiki News) Ankylosing spondylitis affects the joints of your spine. Over time, these joints can become badly damaged. This damage could be breaking backs.

Vertebral fractures (fractures of the bones that make up the spine) may be common in people with ankylosing spondylitis, but many of these fractures may go undiagnosed.

Bone mineral density (how much mineral matter is in the bones) could be signs of vertebral fracture risk.

"Get enough calcium to maintain strong bones."

In a recent study, Eva Klingberg, MD, of the University of Gothenberg in Sweden, and colleagues set out to see how common vertebral fractures were among patients with ankylosing spondylitis. They also wanted to see what factors may increase the risk of vertebral fractures in these patients.

The study included 204 patients with ankylosing spondylitis, 57 percent of whom were men.

A total of 24 patients (12 percent) were diagnosed with vertebral fractures. However, doctors had previously found vertebral fractures in only three of these 24 patients.

Patients with vertebral fractures had much lower bone mineral density than those without fractures.

In addition, patients with vertebral fractures were older, had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis for a longer period of time, were more likely to be smokers, and had higher disease activity.

All women who had a vertebral fracture had been through menopause (a time in a woman's life when her periods stop and she can no longer get pregnant).

The research was supported by grants from The Health and Medical Care Executive Board of the Västra Götaland, Rune and Ulla Amlövs foundation for Rheumatology Research, Gothenburg’s Association Against Rheumatism, The Medical Society of Gothenburg, and the Region Västra Götaland (agreement concerning research and education of doctors), COMBINE, Inger Bendix foundation, and the Margareta Rheuma research foundation.

The results of the study were published August 15 in the Journal of Rheumatology.

Review Date: 
August 24, 2012