March 3 (UPI) -- Nearly one in four adults with osteoporosis will develop kidney stones, an analysis published Wednesday by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found.
Among more than 500,000 people with kidney stones, just under 24% had been diagnosed with osteoporosis or bone fracture at around the same time, the data showed.
Among the more than 400,000 study participants with kidney stones who had no history of the bone-density disorder, 9%, or roughly 37,000, underwent a bone density scan.
Of these, 20% were found to have osteoporosis, highlighting the "possibility of reduced bone strength in patients with kidney stones," according to the researchers.
"There is a high prevalence of bone disease in patients with kidney stones, yet only a small proportion of patients with kidney stones receive bone density screening," study co-author Dr. Calyani Ganesan told UPI.
"Wider adoption of bone density screening ... in patients with kidney stones could lead to earlier detection and treatment," said Ganesan, a post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and more prone to fractures or breaks, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
The disease affects about 10 million people in the United States, mostly older adults, the foundation estimates.
Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys, causing painful symptoms and difficulty passing urine.
About one in 11 people will develop kidney stones during their lifetimes, the National Institutes of Health estimates.
For this study, Ganesan and her colleagues identified 531,431 patients in the Veterans Health Administration database who were diagnosed with kidney stones between 2007 and 2015.
Of these patients, 23.6% of patients had a diagnosis of osteoporosis or bone fracture at around the time of their kidney stone diagnosis.
Among the just 37,000 with no history of osteoporosis or bone fracture who underwent a subsequent bone scan, 20% were found to have the bone density disorder.
The findings support the wider use of bone density screening in individuals with kidney stones, including middle-aged and older men who may not be recognized as at-risk for osteoporosis or fracture, the researchers said.
"In some patients with kidney stones, [poorly regulated] calcium balance may be present, in which calcium is [removed] from bone and excreted into the urine," Ganesan said.
"[This] can lead to osteoporosis and the formation of calcium stones," she said.