Objective. To examine the cross-sectional association between radiographic features of hip osteoarthritis (OA) and bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip, spine, and appendicular skeleton among Caucasian women ages 65 and older who were participating in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. Methods. Pelvis radiographs of 4,855 subjects were assessed for individual radiographic features of hip OA: osteophytes, joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis, cysts, and femoral head deformity. Hips were graded on a summary scale of 0 (no OA) to 4 (severe OA) based on the number of radiographic features present. Appendicular BMD was measured in all subjects, and hip and spine BMD in 84% of the group. We used linear regression to examine the association of BMD with hip OA, and to adjust for age, weight, and other determinants of bone mass. Results. Three hundred fifty-one women (7.2%) had mild (grade 2) and 228 (4.7%) had moderate to severe (grade 3-4) radiographic evidence of hip OA. Women with grade 3-4 hip OA had a higher age-adjusted BMD at the femoral neck and Ward's triangle (9-10%; P < 0.0001), trochanter (4%; P < 0.01), lumbar spine (8%; P < 0.0001), and distal radius and calcaneus (5%; P < 0.0001 [for each comparison]) compared with those with grade 0-1 OA in the worse hip. Elevations in BMD were greatest in the femoral neck of hips with OA, in women with bilateral hip OA, and in women with hip osteophytes. These findings were essentially unchanged by adjustment for determinants of bone mass. Conclusion. Elderly Caucasian women with moderate to severe radiographic hip OA had higher BMD in the hip, spine, and appendicular skeleton than did women without hip OA. Our findings are consistent with a role of elevated BMD in the pathogenesis of hip OA.
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