Effects of skeletal size of the lumbar spine on areal bone density, volumetric bone density, and the diagnosis of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women in China
- Cite this article as:
- Liao, E., Wu, X., Liao, H. et al. J Bone Miner Metab (2004) 22: 270. doi:10.1007/s00774-003-0479-6
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To understand the effects of skeletal size of the lumbar spine on areal bone mineral density (aBMD), volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), and the diagnosis of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, we measured the projected bone area, bone mineral content (BMC), aBMD, and vBMD at the anteroposterior and lateral lumbar spines in a population of 1081 postmenopausal Chinese women, 42 to 86 years of age. The results indicated that, at the anteroposterior and lateral lumbar spine, there were significant positive correlations between bone area and both BMC (r = 0.606; P = 0.000 and r = 0.610; P = 0.000) and aBMD (r = 0.270; P = 0.000 and r = 0.182; P = 0.000), but not vBMD (r = −0.055; P = 0.000 and r = 0.000; P = 0.929). When bone area at the anteroposterior spine changed by ±1 SD, the BMC, aBMD, and vBMD correspondingly changed by 28.2%, 10.1%, and 1.69% on the basis of their respective means. When a variation of ±1 SD was observed in bone area at the lateral spine, BMC and aBMD, correspondingly changed by 25.9% and 6.18% on the basis of their respective means, while vBMD indicated no change. Through comparisons among large-, intermediate-, and small-bone area groups, significant differences were found in the means of subjects’ heights, weights, BMC, and vBMD at the anteroposterior and lateral lumbar spines, as well as in the detection rates of osteoporosis by aBMD (P = 0.000). Detection rates of osteoporosis by aBMD at the anteroposterior spine and by aBMD at the lateral spine, and by vBMD were 44.1%, 55.5%, and 49.7%, respectively, in the total population; 31.4%, 41.7%, and 53.7%, respectively, in the large-bone area group; 43.3%, 55.9%, and 50.5%, respectively, in the intermediate-bone area group; and 61.7%, 70.0%, and 42.5%, respectively, in the small-bone area group. No significant differences were found in the detection rates of osteoporosis by vBMD among the groups. The results of multiple linear regression revealed that the major factors influencing skeletal size and aBMD of the lumbar spine were height and weight. Therefore, in menopausal women of the same ethnic group and age, the skeletal size of the lumbar spine would have significant influence upon aBMD and the diagnosis of osteoporosis, i.e., the larger the spinal size, the greater the aBMD and the lower the osteoporosis detection rate, while, conversely, the smaller the skeletal size, the smaller the aBMD and the higher the osteoporosis detection rate. When we use aBMD of the lumbar spine to diagnose osteoporosis in a population with different body sizes, we need to take this body size difference into account. When we use vBMD to diagnose osteoporosis, the effect of body size on BMD will diminish.