Studies have found an increase in bone loss and fracture in individuals with SLE. In fact, women with lupus may be nearly five times more likely than those without the disease to experience a fracture from osteoporosis.
Individuals with lupus are at increased risk for osteoporosis for many reasons. To begin with, the glucocorticoid medications often prescribed to treat SLE can trigger significant bone loss. In addition, pain and fatigue caused by the disease can result in inactivity, further increasing osteoporosis risk. Studies also show that bone loss in lupus may occur as a direct result of the disease. Of concern is the fact that 90 percent of the people affected with lupus are women, a group already at increased risk for osteoporosis.