CKD found in 76% of osteoporosis cases

GPs should screen patients with osteoporosis for chronic kidney disease (CKD), research findings from Ireland suggest.

Renal status is rarely considered in osteoporotic patients, despite evidence of bone disease once glomerular filtration rate (GFR) falls below 60ml/min.

For the latest study, 175 patients with osteoporosis, who were attending a specialist bone clinic between 2003 and 2006, were examined for CKD.

The research showed that

76 per cent of the patients had a GFR below 60ml/min, indicating moderate to severe CKD. The remainder were found to have mild CKD.

Patients with moderate to severe CKD were aged 80 years on average, compared with 74 for those with mild CKD.

Patients with moderate to severe CKD also had significantly lower bone mass density at the hip and spine than those with mild CKD.

Additionally, moderate to severe CKD was associated with higher bone turnover and a twofold increased risk of vertebral fracture.

Presenting the findings at the spring meeting of the British Geriatrics Society in Glasgow last week, researchers from Trinity College, Dublin said it was essential to identify CKD in osteoporotic patients because it could have implications for future fractures and treatment options.

But Dr Ian Wilkinson, a GPSI in renal medicine in Oldham, Lancashire, said that although the research was very interesting, it was too early to suggest screening for CKD in patients with osteoporosis.

‘I have not heard about this link before,’ he said. ‘It is difficult to draw conclusions from such a small study.’

Prevalence of both osteoporosis and CKD rise with age, but it is hard to establish whether they are linked, he said.

East London GP Dr Penny Ackland, who has an interest in CKD, said that CKD was known to have an effect on bone metabolism but that further research was needed.

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