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Numerous emerging data from research on osteoporosis among Asians found differences from Caucasians. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and osteoporosis in elderly participants from two nursing homes in Thailand, a country located near the equator.
The subjects of this cross-sectional study comprised 93 elderly Thai women who were living in institutional long-term nursing homes for the aged. Demographic data, daily food and calcium intake, physical activity, and sunlight exposure were measured. Lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) and biochemical levels including serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and bone turnover markers were assessed. Vitamin D insufficiency was defined as 25(OH)D level<70nmol/l.
The mean age of subjects was 75.2±6.0 (SD) years. Dietary calcium intake was low (322±158mg/day) The mean 25(OH)D level was 64.3±14.9nmol/L and the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was 38.7% (95% CI: 28.8%, 49.4%). There was no correlation between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and age (r=−.11, p=0.3). The mean BMD of lumbar spine and femoral neck were 0.92±0.19 and 0.65±0.10g/cm2, respectively. Nearly a half of the subjects had osteopenia (44.1%, 95% CI: 33.8%, 54.8%) and osteoporosis (47.3%, 95% CI: 36.9%, 57.9%). Circulating C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTx) level correlated significantly with both lumbar spine (r=−0.26, p=0.01) and femoral neck BMD (r=−0.25, p=0.02).
More than one-third of Thai elderly women residing in nursing homes had vitamin D insufficiency. Almost all nursing home residents had osteoporosis and/or osteopenia.