Characteristics associated with bone mineral density screening in adults with intellectual disabilities

J Am Board Fam Med. 2014 Jan-Feb;27(1):104-14. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2014.01.130114.


Background: Certain health characteristics place adults with intellectual disability at increased risk for osteoporosis. However, little data exist to describe how comorbid disease or medications affect screening patterns for these patients.

Methods: We evaluated the relationship between bone density screening and the presence of risk factors using a secondary cross-sectional analysis of 5520 adults aged 19 years and older with the diagnosis of intellectual disability.

Results: Of the sample, 22.9% received one or more bone density screenings (34.4% women, 13.3% men). Low screening rates in men prohibited the construction of a valid sex-specific multivariate model of the association between bone density screening and risk factors for osteoporosis. In women, when controlling for age the following factors were significantly associated with ever having bone density screening: use of antiepileptic medication (odds ratio [OR], 1.5) and vitamin D (OR, 3.4); recent receipt of a flu vaccine (OR, 1.4); and living in a 24-hour supported residential setting (OR, 1.3). A diagnosis of Down syndrome (OR, 0.72) was associated with decreased likelihood of screening.

Conclusions: Many known risk factors for osteoporosis affected the likelihood of an adult with intellectual disability receiving screening, yet overall screening rates for adults with intellectual disabilities were lower than screening rates in the general population. Results suggest a need for increased provider awareness about bone density screenings in high-risk adults with intellectual disability, especially men, as well as men and women with Down syndrome.

Keywords: Delivery of Health Care; Developmental Disabilities; Down Syndrome; Osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Young Adult