Systemic lupus erythematosus, bone health, and osteoporosis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This manuscript will provide a review of recent publications, examining the correlation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with changes in bone health and associated osteoporosis, highlighting prevalence, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment.

Recent findings

Studies suggest that bone loss and fractures are associated with SLE, related not only to the disease itself, but also with low vitamin D and treatment side-effects. Understanding the mechanisms of glucocorticoids on bone and the immunologic relationship of vitamin D, as well as recognizing the role of chronic inflammation on bone, allows for better understanding of skeletal side-effects. Further awareness of the association of poor bone health has led to an increased need for prevention and treatment. New imaging and treatment are emerging, although not recommended currently.

Summary

Loss of bone density culminating in osteoporosis and fracture is a frequent comorbidity in SLE patients at any age and is multifactorial in etiology. Awareness and diagnosis is crucial because of its prevalence and morbidity. Prevention is safe and effective in this high-risk population where diagnostic measures and interventions are underutilized and guidelines are lacking.

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