Management of Low Bone Mineral Density in Premenopausal Women
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OBJECTIVE: To review evidence for management of low bone density in premenopausal women and to establish practical guidelines for management of low bone density in this population by family physicians. METHOD: A search of MEDLINE for relevant articles published between January 1990 and May 2004 was conducted. Articles retrieved were graded by level of evidence. Recommendations for diagnosis and therapy were based on evidence from randomized controlled trials and expert consensus. RESULTS: Low bone density in premenopausal women is not associated with the same increased risk of fracture seen in older women. In the absence of fragility fractures and loss of height, it may be a reflection of low peak bone mass and may represent the normal variation in bone mineral density (BMD). Women may have low bone density secondary to an underlying skeletal or systemic disorder. Common causes of low bone density in premenopausal women include ovulatory disturbances and low body weight. CONCLUSION: Osteoporosis is diagnosed in the premenopausal female population in the presence of fragility fractures and is not based solely on the results of BMD testing. Secondary causes of bone loss should be excluded, and any underlying condition contributing to low bone density should be corrected. Antiresorptive therapy has been evaluated only in those premenopausal women who are on glucocorticoid therapy and in those with primary hyperparathyroidism. Only in these conditions has antiresorptive therapy been shown to improve BMD.
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