Osteoporosis risk and low bone mineral density in women with physical disabilities


      Smeltzer SC, Zimmerman V, Capriotti T. Osteoporosis risk and low bone mineral density in women with physical disabilities.


      To describe the results of bone mineral density (BMD) screening in women with different physical disabilities and to identify their risk factors for osteoporosis and use of strategies to prevent osteoporosis.


      A cross-sectional descriptive study.




      Convenience sample of 429 community-residing women with different disabilities.


      Not applicable.

      Main outcome measures

      Peripheral BMD screening of the os calcis, using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. A self-administered survey addressed osteoporosis risk factors, use of osteoporosis prevention strategies, and previous recommendations for BMD screening or testing.


      Based on World Health Organization criteria, 30.5% and 22.6% of the total sample had BMD values indicative of osteopenia and osteoporosis, respectively. The number of self-reported osteoporosis risk factors ranged from 0 to 10 (mean, 4.5±1.7). Subjects reported using few strategies to reduce their osteoporosis risks. One quarter of the women reported previous BMD screening or testing; about one third reported receiving recommendations for testing or screening by a health care provider.


      More than half of the sample had low BMD, and it was present in premenopausal as well as menopausal women. Despite low BMD and the presence of osteoporosis risk factors, less than a third of the women previously had BMD testing or screening or recommendations for such testing. Because low BMD is common in women with disabilities, greater attention must be directed toward their risk for osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. Prevention strategies to reduce osteoporosis risk should be considered, although their efficacy is not yet known in populations with disabilities.

      Key words

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