Age-related changes in proximal humerus bone health in healthy, white males Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.The proximal humerus is relatively under investigated despite being the fourth most common site for osteoporotic fracture.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.Regression models estimated considerable age-related 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).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.


  • Mantila Roosa, SM
  • Hurd, AL
  • Xu, H
  • Fuchs, RK
  • Warden, SJ

publication date

  • December 2012