Association of bone mineral density with hemoglobin and change in hemoglobin among older men and women: The Cardiovascular Health Study

the Cardiovascular Health Study group

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17 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Osteoblasts and their precursors support hematopoiesis in the bone marrow. We hypothesized that declines in Hgb levels are associated with bone mineral density (BMD).

METHODS: The Cardiovascular Health Study is a prospective longitudinal study that enrolled 5888 community-dwelling adults aged >65 years and measured hemoglobin twice, in 1989-90 and 1992-93, as well as BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 1994-95. In a subset of 1513 men and women with a Hgb in 1992-93 and BMD, we used linear regression to estimate associations of Hgb (per standard deviation (SD)) with total hip (TH), lumbar spine (LS) and total body (TB) BMD, and used Poisson regression to estimate associations of anemia (in 1992-93; Hgb <13 g/dL in men; <12 g/dL in women) with "low BMD" defined as T-score less than -1 at the TH. In 1277 participants with Hgb measured on average 2.9 years apart and BMD, we used linear regression to estimate the associations of annualized change in Hgb with TH, LS and TB BMD. All models included age, sex, study-site, race, smoking, alcohol use, weight, height, steroid use, physical activity score, self-reported health, previous cardiovascular disease and prior anti-fracture medication use.

RESULTS: No significant association was observed between Hgb, measured a mean 2.2 years prior to BMD, and BMD at the TH and LS in men (TH beta = -0.60 [x 10 -2 g/cm 2per 1.1 g/dL Hgb], 95% CI: -1.88 to 0.68; LS beta = -1.69, 95% CI: -3.83 to 0.45) or women (TH beta = -0.49 [x 10 -2 g/cm 2per 1.3 g/dL Hgb], 95% CI: -1.57 to 0.59; LS beta = -0.40, 95% CI: -2.57 to 1.76). Anemia was not observed to be significantly associated with low BMD in men (RR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.72-1.40) nor women (RR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.82-1.17). The mean change in Hgb was a loss of 0.06 g/dL/year (SD = 0.32). Change in Hgb was not observed to be significantly associated with BMD in men (TH beta = -0.55[x 10 -2 g/cm 2per 1 g/dL annualized Hgb change], 95% CI: -4.28 to 3.19; LS beta = 0.63, 95% CI: -5.38 to 6.65) or women (TH beta = 0.92, 95% CI: -1.96 to 3.79; LS beta = -1.77, 95% CI: -7.52 to 3.98). No significant association was observed between anemia and low bone density by T-score in men and women.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings support neither the hypothesis that low Hgb prior to bone density or decreases in Hgb are associated with bone density in older community-dwelling adults nor the use of Hgb level as a case-finding tool to prompt BMD measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by contracts HHSN268201200036C , HHSN268200800007C , HHSN268201800001C , N01HC55222 , N01HC85079 , N01HC85080 , N01HC85081 , N01HC85082 , N01HC85083 , N01HC85086 , and grants U01HL080295 and U01HL130114 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), with additional contribution from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Additional support was provided by R01AG023629 from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). A full list of principal CHS investigators and institutions can be found at . RV was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases ( NIDDK ) grant T32 DK007217 . The content is solely our responsibility and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Health.

Funding Information:
JYW has sponsored research funding from Radius Health, Inc. in Waltham, MA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Aging
  • Bone mineral density
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Hemoglobin
  • White blood cells

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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