Objective: To study the bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition in men with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: Consecutive male patients who fulfilled > or =4 ACR criteria for SLE and age-matched healthy men were recruited for measurement of BMD and body composition by DXA scan. Risk factors for low BMD in SLE patients were evaluated.
Results: 40 male SLE patients were studied (age 42.6+/-12 years; disease duration 84.7+/-79 months). 34 (85%) patients were treated with long-term glucocorticoids. Compared with 40 controls, SLE patients had a significantly lower BMD at the lumbar spine (0.96+/-0.16 vs 1.03+/-0.11 g/cm2; p=0.02) and the hip (0.87+/-0.14 vs 0.94+/-0.12 g/cm2; p=0.04). At the spine, 12 (30%) SLE patients had Z scores< - 2.0 and 2 (5%) had osteoporotic fractures. At the hip, 3 (7.5%) patients had Z scores< - 2.0 but none had hip fractures. The BMD Z scores at the femoral neck and spine were significantly lower in SLE patients than controls. The total lean body mass was also lower in patients than control subjects (46.4+/-7.3 vs 50.5+/-5.9 kg; p=0.01). Multiple regression revealed increasing age, habitual drinking, lower BMI and use of high-dose prednisolone were unfavorably associated with lower BMD at the spine in SLE patients.
Conclusions: Reduced BMD and lean body mass are prevalent in men with SLE. Appropriate measures against osteoporosis should be undertaken, especially in older patients with low BMI who receive high-dose glucocorticoids.