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Abstract

Objective. To investigate the relationship of osteoarthritis (OA) to bone mineral density (BMD) and rate of bone loss.

Methods. The study group consisted of 2,745 persons (1,624 women) from the general elderly population. Disability was assessed by the Health Assessment Questionnaire. Femoral neck BMD was measured at baseline and, in 1,723 subjects, after 2 years of followup. Knee and hip radiographic OA was assessed on anteroposterior radiographs.

Results. With the exception of knee radiographic OA in men, radiographic OA was associated with significantly increased BMD (3–8%). BMD increased significantly according to the number of affected sites and the Kellgren score. Radiographic OA was also associated with significantly elevated bone loss with age (in men, only for radiographic OA of the hip). A significant increase in relation to the number of affected sites and the Kellgren score (except with regard to knee OA in men) was found, independent of disability.

Conclusion. Radiographic OA is associated with higher BMD and increased rate of bone loss. This suggests a more pronounced difference in BMD earlier in life.