Chronic Alcoholism. Frequently Overlooked Cause of Osteoporosis in Men

Am J Med. 1986 Mar;80(3):393-7. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(86)90712-6.


A radiographic survey was made of 96 fully ambulatory male patients who were admitted to a rehabilitation center for patients with chronic alcoholism in an attempt to estimate the incidence of skeletal demineralization in these patients. The age of the patients ranged from 24 to 62 years. Forty-five of the 96 male patients, or 47 percent of this group, showed radiographic evidence of extensive bone loss. Fourteen or 31 percent of these 45 patients with bone loss were relatively young (age 31 to 45 years), and half of this group of 14 patients were less than 40 years old. The majority of the 45 patients with radiographic evidence of osteoporosis, namely, 31 patients or 69 percent, were older and ranged in age from 46 to 62 years. One third of the patients in this group were less than 50 years old. The radiographic survey of the 96 patients indicates the high incidence of extensive bone loss, most likely osteoporosis, in relatively young and middle-aged ambulatory men with chronic alcoholism. In 12 additional patients with chronic alcoholism who were observed in the Metabolic Research Ward, and who were not part of this survey, bone biopsy specimens confirmed the radiographic diagnosis of osteoporosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Radiography
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging