Asthma sufferers may be at an increased risk of bone loss, according to a new study which found a link between the condition and decrease in bone mineral density.
Researchers in Seoul, South Korea studied more than 7,000 patients, 433 of which had airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) or asthma.
Lumber spine and femur bone density was significantly lower in those with AHR or asthma, than those without the conditions, according to the study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
"We know prolonged use of corticosteroids in the treatment of asthma is a risk factor of osteoporosis, but we haven't had definite data showing the relationship between asthma itself and bone loss," said researcher Jae-Woo Jung, lead author of the study.
"This study has shown a meaningful association between the two conditions even in the absence of previous oral corticosteroid use," Jung said.
"It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of bone loss in this subset of patients," said allergist John Oppenheimer, Annals associate editor and ACAAI fellow.
"Reasons can include corticosteroid use, low levels of vitamin D or even race. This research has unveiled findings that need be further studied," Oppenheimer said.
According to the ACAAI, while oral corticosteroids can be associated with adverse effects, such as osteoporosis, this medication is the most effective in treating asthma.