, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 282-290

A Prospective Study of Bone Loss in Menopausal Australian-Born Women

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Two hundred and twenty-four women (74 pre-, 90 peri-, 60 post-menopausal), aged 46–59 years, from a population-based cohort participated in a longitudinal study of bone mineral density (BMD). BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at the lumbar spine and femoral neck and the time between bone scans was on average 25 (range 14–41) months. The aim of the study was to assess changes in BMD in relation to changes in normal menopausal status. During the study period women who were between 3 and 12 months past their last menstrual period (n= 22, late perimenopausal) at the time of the second bone scan had a mean (SE) annual change in BMD of 70.9% (0.4%) at the lumbar spine and 70.7% (0.6%) at the femoral neck (both p50.05 compared with women who remained premenopausal). In the women who became postmenopausal (n= 42) the mean annual changes in BMD were 72.5% (0.2%) at the lumbar spine and 71.7% (0.2%) at the femoral neck (both p50.0005), and in the women who remained postmenopausal (n= 60) they were 70.7% (0.2%) per year and 70.5% (0.3%) per year respectively (both p50.05), compared with women who remained premenopausal. In the 1–3 years after the final menstrual period (FMP) there was greater bone loss from the lumbar spine than the femoral neck (p50.05). In women who were menstruating at the time of the second bone scan and whose FMP could be dated prospectively (n= 35), higher baseline oestradiol levels were associated with less lumbar spine bone loss (p50.005). In the women who remained postmenopausal there was an association between baseline body mass index (BMI) and percentage change per year in femoral neck BMD (p50.05), such that women with higher BMI had less bone loss. In conclusion, during the time of transition from peri- to post-menopause, women had accelerated BMD loss at both the hip and spine.

Received: 23 June 1997 / Accepted: 5 November 1997