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High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in multiple sclerosis. *

BACKGROUND: Female patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are at risk for osteoporosis because of gender, immobility, and corticosteroid use.

METHODS: Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry in 80 female MS patients admitted to a tertiary care hospital. All patients completed a questionnaire that included measurements of dietary intake and sunlight exposure. Biochemical indices of bone metabolism and turnover were measured in a random sample of 52 patients.

RESULTS: BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck was 1 to 2 SDs lower in MS women compared with a healthy reference population. BMD was lower in patients with more severe MS. The mean 25(OH)D level of the sample population (43 nmol/l) was in the insufficient range, and 12 patients (23%) had frank vitamin D deficiency (< 25 nmol/l). BMD and age-related BMD (z scores) at all skeletal sites measured were lowest when 25(OH)D levels were deficient. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) was frankly elevated in 13% of patients. PTH levels were negatively correlated with 25(OH)D levels and with BMD. Dietary intake of vitamin D was below the recommended level in 80% of patients, and 40% reported no weekly sunlight exposure. After controlling for age, cumulative steroid use was not a determinant of BMD.

CONCLUSIONS: BMD was significantly reduced in female MS patients, which might increase fracture risk two- to threefold. Vitamin D deficiency with secondary hyperparathyroidism is prevalent and is probably a significant cause of low BMD in this population. Vitamin D deficiency in the female MS patient might be safely and inexpensively corrected by the routine use of vitamin D supplements.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 05-26-2006