Posted on 22 March 2022

Bone loss less than expected after menopause

Scientists have established that the bone mineral density (BMD) of post-menopausal women decreases less than expected. Researchers found that BMD decreased by an average of just 10% during a 25-year follow-up, significantly less than they had expected. The findings challenge previous studies and improve hopes that women can enjoy stronger bones into old age.

The Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention (OSTPRE) study started in 1989. Over 14,000 women have taken part, with a random sample of 3,000 providing bone mineral density measurements every five years. The study provides scientists with critical information on the bone health of menopausal and post-menopausal women, including challenging some long-held assumptions.

The average decrease in bone mineral density was lower than has been assumed based on earlier, shorter follow-ups,” said Associate Professor Joonas Sirola, co-author of a recent paper published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The findings show that women lost around 10% of BMD, far less than the 25% predicted by shorter studies.

“This new, long-term follow-up of bone mineral density sheds significant new light on osteoporosis and bone research and also changes our understanding of bone loss in older women,” said co-author Professor Heikki Kröger.

The study has provided scientists with incredible information and insights into bone health, says Sirola. “There were also surprisingly few risk factors affecting bone mineral density. The most significant factor protecting against bone loss was hormone replacement therapy. Weight gain during the follow-up also protected against bone loss.”

You can read the full paper, Characteristics of Long‐Term Femoral Neck Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women: A 25‐Year Follow‐Up, here.

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