Study links kidney stones with bone problems

In an analysis of nationwide data from the Veterans Health Administration, approximately one-quarter of individuals with kidney stones had a diagnosis of osteoporosis or bone fracture around the time of their kidney stone diagnosis. The findings are published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Investigators identified 531,431 patients with kidney stone disease between 2007 and 2015, and they found that 23.6% of patients had a diagnosis of osteoporosis or fracture around the time of their kidney stone diagnosis. In patients with no prior history of osteoporosis or bone analyses before their kidney stone diagnosis, 9.1% received a bone density scan after a kidney stone diagnosis, of whom 20% were subsequently diagnosed with osteoporosis.

The findings provide support for wider use of bone density screening in individuals with kidney stones, including middle-aged and older men who may not be recognized as at-risk for osteoporosis or fracture.

“We hope this work raises awareness regarding the possibility of reduced bone strength in patients with kidney stones. In our future work, we hope to identify which patients with kidney stones are at higher risk for osteoporosis or fracture to help guide bone density screening efforts by clinicians in this population,” said lead author Calyani Ganesan, MD, of Stanford University.