How Common Are High Cortisol Levels in Apparently Healthy People with Osteoporosis?. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147:I-48. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-147-8-200710160-00001
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(8):I-48.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become less dense and fractures occur more easily. Osteoporosis is most often caused by gradual bone thinning that occurs with age. However, other diseases may cause osteoporosis. Cortisol is a hormone that helps the body withstand stress. Diseases that increase cortisol levels in the blood typically cause many symptoms and signs, including osteoporosis. Researchers have found that some apparently healthy people have high blood cortisol levels. Osteoporosis could be a sign of high cortisol levels in these people.
To see how often apparently healthy people with osteoporosis have high cortisol levels.
219 people referred to 2 medical centers for osteoporosis testing. Most participants were women.
The researchers tested the participants for osteoporosis. They then tested their blood to see who had high blood cortisol levels. They compared participants who had osteoporosis with those who did not to see whether the participants with osteoporosis were more likely to have high cortisol levels.
Seven apparently healthy people with osteoporosis had high cortisol levels. None of the people without osteoporosis had high levels. All 7 people with high levels had tumors that increased the levels. Among people with osteoporosis and fractures, the frequency of high cortisol levels was about 1 in 10.
The researchers could not fully explain whether high cortisol levels caused the osteoporosis.
High blood cortisol levels in apparently healthy people with osteoporosis may be more common than is usually recognized. More research is needed to see whether high cortisol levels are a cause of osteoporosis in a significant number of apparently healthy people with the condition.
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Endocrine and Metabolism, Metabolic Bone Disorders.
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