The effect of age and menopause on bone mineral density of the proximal femur

Lars R. Hedlund, J. C. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the menopause has been associated with increased bone loss at several skeletal sites, it has not previously been noted in the hip, yet estrogen therapy has been reported to reduce the incidence of hip fractures. We investigated the effect of age and menopause on bone loss in the proximal femur by measuring bone mineral density (BMD) of the femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and trochanter by dual-photon absorptiometry in 263 norman women aged 20-84. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant decrease in BMD of the femoral neck and Ward's triangle with age in both pre- and postmenopausal women (p <0.001). In the trochanter the decrease with age was significant only in postmenopausal women (p <0.001). Further analysis revealed that BMD decreased faster at all sites in the early postmenopausal years. During the first 6 years postmenopause, the decrease in BMD of the femoral neck and trochanter was 3-10 times higher than the change in the decade prior to menopause. About 20% of the lifetime femoral neck loss and 30% of the trochanteric loss occurred in the early postmenopausal period. It is concluded that both age and menopause are major determinants of BMD in the proximal femur. These findings could explain why estrogen therapy has been reported to prevent hip fracture. The rapid early postmenopausal loss in BMD of the proximal femur demonstrates the importance of starting estrogen replacement therapy immediately after menopause for maximum effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-642
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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