Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are vulnerable to bone loss and fractures, and frequencies of low bone mass reported in 4% to 74%, variably according to study design and ethnicity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the incidence of low bone mineral density (BMD) and association of clinical factors in Korean patients with SLE. In total, 138 female patients with SLE in 5 hospitals and 165 female healthy controls (HCs) were recruited. All SLE patients fulfilled the 1997 American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for SLE. The osteopenia and osteoporosis was based with the WHO criteria on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The mean age of female SLE patients was 49.7±11.3 years, and age, weight, and height were not different with those of HCs. Ninety-two (66.7%) patients with SLE had osteopenia, and 32 (23.2%) patients had osteoporosis, however only 25 (15.2%) HCs had osteopenia (p<0.001). The SLE patients with osteopenia were older (53.8±13.2 vs 48±13.7 years, p=0.011), lower weight (54.2±9.9 vs 58.3±8.4 kg, p=0.008), and took higher cumulative doses of glucocorticoids (2,332.9±4,964.2 vs 711.4±2,185.6 mg, p=0.006) than those not. On multivariate regression analysis, age (odds ratio (OR)=1.039, p=0.027) and weight (OR=0.957, p=0.038) were associated with osteopenia. The incidence of osteopenia was significantly higher in Korean patients with SLE. In addition, age and weight were independent risk factors of osteopenia in SLE.
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