Bone Loss Begins in Early MS

Osteoporosis and osteopenia happen in the early stages of multiple sclerosis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Bone loss is common in people who have had multiple sclerosis (MS) for a long time. Now, it seems like people who just found out they have MS may also have weaker bones.

It is common for people in the early stages of MS to have either lower-than-normal bone density or osteoporosis (the thinning or loss of bone tissue).

"MS patients need to check their bone density."

Low levels of vitamin D are linked to a higher risk of both MS and osteoporosis. Because vitamin D plays a major role in MS risk, researchers thought that they might be able to see vitamin D's effect on bone loss soon after a person is diagnosed with MS.

Stine Marit Moen, M.D., from Oslo University Hospital Ulleval in Norway, and colleagues set out to see if this assumption was true. Their findings are published in the journal Neurology.

They found that almost 51 percent of recently-diagnosed MS patients have either osteopenia (a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal) or osteoporosis. In contrast, only 37 percent of people without MS had osteopenia or osteoporosis.

According to the study's authors, these results suggest that doctors and patients need to take steps to protect bone health in the early stages of MS. Low bone density is not just a problem for people who have had MS for years.

Dr. Moen and colleagues arrived at these findings by studying 99 people who had been recently diagnosed with MS and 159 people without MS. The researchers measured the bone density of participants' femur, hip, spine, and total body.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 13, 2011
Last Updated:
July 15, 2011