People suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, may also be at higher risk for developing osteoporosis, report researchers who studied 81 patients with the lung disease and 38 healthy people who served as controls.
It was observed that one-third of the COPD patients met the criteria for osteoporosis. That compared to just 13 percent of the healthy controls. About 80 percent of the patients had some signs of previously undiagnosed bone thinning, either osteoporosis or osteopenia -- a precursor to osteoporosis. The presence of osteoporosis in the group was also linked to loss of fat-free mass, which can occur in COPD patients even if they maintain a normal body mass index. In this study, 17 patients were found to have lower-than-normal fat-free mass while still having normal BMIs. Researchers also linked elevated markers of cellular protein breakdown with both body composition and lung disease severity.
In conclusion researchers say loss of fat-free mass and bone mineral density are related, as are urinary markers of cellular and bone collagen protein breakdown which combine to support the association between the disease and bone thinning.