The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with vertebral fragility fractures

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Abstract

Hypovitaminosis D has been identified as a common risk factor for fragility fractures and poor fracture healing. Epidemiological data on vitamin D deficiency have been gathered in various populations, but the association between vertebral fragility fractures and hypovitaminosis D, especially in males, remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D) in patients presenting with vertebral fragility fractures and to determine whether patients with a vertebral fracture were at greater risk of hypovitaminosis D than a control population. Furthermore, we studied the seasonal variations in the serum vitamin D levels of tested patients in order to clarify the relationship between other known risk factors for osteoporosis and vitamin D levels. We measured the serum 25-OH D levels of 246 patients admitted with vertebral fractures (105 men, 141 female, mean age 69 years, SD 8.5), and in 392 orthopaedic patients with back pain and no fractures (219 men, 173 female, mean age 63 years, SD 11) to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency. Statistical analysis found a significant difference in vitamin D levels between patients with vertebral fragility fracture and the control group (p = 0.036). In addition, there was a significant main effect of the tested variables: obesity (p < 0.001), nicotine abuse (p = 0.002) and diabetes mellitus (p < 0.001). No statistical difference was found between vitamin D levels and gender (p = 0.34). Vitamin D insufficiency was shown to be a risk factor for vertebral fragility fractures in both men and women.

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