Study Considers Whether People with Asthma are Prone to Bone Loss

In the March, 2014, issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, researchers note that “recent studies suggest an association between allergic diseases, including asthma, and lower vitamin D level, a well-known risk factor of osteoporosis. However, it is not yet clearly known whether patients with asthma are prone to bone loss.” The authors “retrospectively enrolled 7,034 patients who had undergone a health checkup program…at the Seoul National University Hospital, Healthcare System Gangnam Center, from November 1, 2004 to April 30, 2011. Asthma was ascertained by self-reported medical diagnosis by a physician.” The results showed a correlation between asthma and “clinically meaningful” bone mineral density decrease, “although the causal relationship is unclear.” According to Science Codex article about the study, “’We know prolonged use of corticosteroids in the treatment of asthma is a risk factor of osteoporosis, but we haven’t had definite data showing the relationship between asthma itself and bone loss,’ said Jae-Woo Jung, MD, lead study author. ‘This study has shown a meaningful association between the two conditions even in the absence of previous oral corticosteroid use.’

“’It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of bone loss in this subset of patients,’ said allergist John Oppenheimer, MD, Annals associate editor and ACAAI fellow. ‘Reasons can include corticosteroid use, low levels of vitamin D or even race. This research has unveiled findings that need be further studied.’”

The journal abstract and the news article are online.