Summary: The proximal humerus is a common site for osteoporotic fracture. The current study demonstrates the rate of age-related decline in proximal humerus bone health. The data suggest aging is associated with considerable loss of bone mass, structural deterioration and reduced bone strength at the proximal humerus. Introduction: The proximal humerus is relatively under investigated despite being the fourth most common site for osteoporotic fracture. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed to assess age-related changes in dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) properties of the proximal humerus in a cohort of 170 healthy, white males. Results: Regression models estimated considerable agerelated loss of DXA measured bone quantity at the proximal humerus, with areal bone mineral density modeled to decline by 29% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.5-35.0%) in the 50 years between ages 30 and 80 years (p<0.001). pQCT measures indicated aging was associated with progressive periosteal and endosteal expansion, with the later occurring more rapidly as indicated by age-related declines in cortical bone mass, area and thickness (all p< 0.01). The net result of the density, mass and structural changes was a 26% (95% CI, 13.5-38.0%) decline in pQCT estimated proximal humerus bone strength in the 50 years between ages 30 and 80 years (p<0.001). Conclusion: Aging is associated with considerable declines in proximal humeral bone health which, when coupled with a traumatic event such as a fall, may contribute to osteoporotic fracture at this site.
- Cortical bone
- Trabecular bone
- Upper extremity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism