Management in Health, Vol 20, No 1 (2016)

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LOW BONE MINERAL DENSITY AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS IN ALBANIAN WOMEN

Julia KOLLCAKU, Artur KOLLCAKU

Abstract


Background: We aimed to determine the association of low bone mineral density with rheumatoid arthritis among women residing in Tirana, the capital of Albania, a transitional country in the Western Balkans.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out during the period 2012-2013, which included a sample of 2198 women aged 30 years and above who attended the Rheumatology services at primary health care clinics in Tirana municipality (overall response rate: 95%). A special bone ultrasound device was used to measure bone mineral density. Osteopenia and/or osteoporosis was defined as a bone mineral density T-score less than -1. The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis was based on clinical signs, laboratory tests and radiological examination. Information on socio-demographic characteristics and behavioral factors was also collected. Logistic regression was used to determine the association of low bone mineral density with rheumatoid arthritis.   

Results: In this female sample of primary health care users, the prevalence of osteopenia and/or osteoporosis was 36.5% (N=803), whereas the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis was 19.9% (N=437). In crude models, low bone mineral density was positively related to rheumatoid arthritis (OR=1.49, 95%CI=1.21-1.85). Upon multivariable-adjustment for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and lifestyle factors, the positive association between low bone mineral density and rheumatoid arthritis persisted (OR=1.34, 95%CI=1.07-1.68).    

Conclusion: Our study offers useful information about the association between low bone mineral density and rheumatoid arthritis among Albanian women who seek care at Rheumatology services in the primary health care system in Tirana.

 

Keywords: Albania, bone ultrasound, bone mineral density, osteopenia, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis.


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