People With MS May Also Suffer From Early Onset Osteoporosis

Researchers have found out that osteoporosis and low bone density are more common among those who suffer from multiple sclerosis than those who don’t. MS sufferers also seem to get osteoporosis earlier than people who do not have the said disease. The findings of the said study was published in the July print issue of Neurology, the medial journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Scientists have long known that people with MS also may have to deal with a higher risk of having low bone density and becoming more prone to broken bones. But scientists have no conclusive idea whether this happens as a result of MS or as a secondary consequence due to a number of factors such as lack of exercise or mobility, medication or lack of vitamin D.

An increase in MS risk is associated with low vitamin D levels. In the same way, low levels if vitamin lead can lead to low calcium absorption as well as reduced bone mineralization. According to study author Stine Marit Moen, MD of the Oslo University Hospital Ulleval in Norway, “Our hypothesis was that if vitamin D exerts a major effect on the risk of MS, then the effects of low vitamin D levels on bone density would be apparent soon after the onset of MS.”

The study involved 99 subjects with an average age of 37 years old who were recently diagnosed with MS or with a clinically isolated syndrome, which means a participant experiencing a first episode of MS-like symptoms but have not yet been diagnosed with the said disease. All of the participants in the study did not have any physical disability, or just minor ones as a result of the disease. During the study, the participants underwent through bone density tests at an average of 1.6 years after the first episode of experiencing MS-like symptoms. The test results were then compared to the bone tests of 159 other people who are of similar age, gender and ethnicity but did not have MS.

The results showed that 51 percent of those who had MS also had either osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone density) as compared to only 37 percent of those who did not have MS. The results remained the same even after the researchers adjusted for other contributing factors such as smoking, alcohol and hormone treatments.

“These results suggest that people in the early stages of MS and their doctors need to consider steps to prevent osteoporosis and maintain good bone health,” Moen added. “This could include changing their diet to ensure adequate vitamin D and calcium levels, starting or increasing weight-bearing activities and taking medications.”

Source: American Academy of Neurology (2011, July 15). Poor bone health may start early in people with multiple sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 19, 2011, from

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