Patients having obstructive airway disease such as bronchitis are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis (loss of bone mass), due to decrease in bone mineral density (BMD). Osteoporosis is a bone disorder in which there is loss of bone mass and is an important risk factor for fractures. It is diagnosed by measuring the bone mineral density.
A research was conducted at the university of Alberta, Canada to examine the association between airway obstruction disease and osteoporosis. The researchers used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry test to determine whether the participants were having osteoporosis or not. It was found that participants suffering with obstructive airway disease were having lower BMD as compared to those having no airway disease. The Bone Mass Density of individuals with moderate to severe obstructive airway disease was even lower.
Therefore, it was concluded that obstructive airway disease (bronchitis) patients had an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. The risk further increases with the severity of airway obstruction.
But the exact reason behind this association was not clear. Decrease in BMD can be associated with the use of corticosteroids by chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD) patients. Other factors could include lack of physical activity, excessive smoking, hypercatabolic effects (underlying inflammatory processes), and lack of nutritious diet.
Considering this study, it is essential that the obstructive airway disease patient should be screened for osteoporosis.