Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between disease damage and bone mineral density (BMD) in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 307 women with SLE. Patients attended a single clinic visit that included an interview, physical examination, laboratory testing and BMD measurements (hip and/or lumbar spine). Women were stratified by the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology cumulative disease damage index (SDI) > or =1 (Damage) vs SDI=0 (No Damage), and prior use of corticosteroids (CS), yielding four groups: (1) Damage/CS(+) (n=138), (2) Damage/CS(-) (n=23), (3) no Damage/CS(-) (n=100), and (4) no Damage/CS(-) (n=46).
Results: Mean age at SLE diagnosis was 32.7 +/- 11.8 yr, 24.4% were African American, 65.0% were premenopausal, and mean SDI +/- S.D. was 1.3 +/- 1.8. In the unadjusted and adjusted models controlling for significant univariate risk factors for osteoporosis, the reference group (Group 1) had significantly lower mean BMD T-scores at the hip and lumbar spine than groups having no disease damage (Groups 3 and 4) independent of CS use status. Similar hip and lumbar spine mean BMD T-scores were observed in women with disease damage with and without CS exposure (Groups 1 and 2).
Conclusions: Women with SLE having disease damage and no CS use had BMD T-scores at the hip and lumbar spine similar to those of women with disease damage and prior CS use. These findings suggest an association between disease damage and lower BMD T-scores in women with SLE.