Primary osteopenia in a female military flight crewmember

Lawrence W. Steinkraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report describes a case of primary severe osteopenia in a 35-yr-old female crewmember of a USAF transport aircraft. This previously healthy individual presented with musculoskeletal symptoms that led to the incidental finding of severe osteopenia on plain films of the pelvis. The subsequent evaluation, including dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) showed a T-score of 1-2 SD below sex-adjusted expected levels for age. Work-up revealed no secondary causes and the patient was placed on alendronate sodium, vitamin D, and calcium supplementation. Within 2 yr, her bone studies were normal. The crewmember was returned to normal flight status and has had no aeromedical problems. Osteopenia and osteoporosis represent points on a continuum of bone disease. Recognizing and addressing risk factors for osteoporosis earlier may reduce the chances for fractures later in life. Aeromedical specialists must be cognizant of the increased risk for bone disease in female crewmembers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-873
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Aeromedical
  • Aircrew
  • Alendronate sodium
  • BMD
  • Bone density
  • Bone mass
  • Bone mineral density
  • DEXA
  • Fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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