OBJECTIVE: Reduced bone mineral density (BMD) has been reported in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, but body composition (fat and lean mass) has never been concomitantly studied. We sought to investigate BMD and body composition in a group of UC outpatients with the following characteristics: age 18-60 yr (men) and 18-45 yr (women); no intestinal resection; no immunosuppressive treatment; and regular menstruation. METHODS: Whole body and subregional BMD and body composition in 43 UC patients (21 men, 22 women; male mean age, 36.5 [21-57] yr; female mean age, 35.3 [23-45] yr) and 121 healthy volunteers were studied by means of dual X-ray photon absorptiometry. RESULTS: There were no differences in total and subregional BMD, or fat and lean mass between the patients and controls, except that the total and trunk lean mass of the UC women was lower than that in the normal controls. No correlation was found between lifetime steroid intake and BMD. CONCLUSIONS: UC outpatients do not differ from normal subjects in terms of BMD and fat mass. Mild and moderate UC does not represent a risk factor for osteopenia. (C) 2000 Am. Coll. of Gastroenterology.
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