• Night shift work and osteoporosis: evidence and hypothesis.

      Bukowska-Damska, Agnieszka; Skowronska-Jozwiak, Elzbieta; Peplonska, Beata; Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (2019-02-01)
      Osteoporosis is an important public health problem worldwide. Among the countries with a very high population risk of fractures, there are those with the highest level of economic development. Osteoporotic fractures are the main cause of disability among elderly people, and the resultant disabilities require particularly large financial support associated not only with the direct treatment of the fracture but also with the necessity for long-term rehabilitation and care for the disabled person. Many well-established factors can have impact on bone mass and fracture risk. Recently, it has been hypothesized that working during nighttime which leads to endocrine disorders may have an indirect impact on bone physiology among night shift workers. Therefore, it can be presumed that the night shift work may contribute to the etiology of osteoporosis. The aim of our work was to make a review of the epidemiological evidence on the association between night shift work and bone mineral density or fracture risk as well as to discuss the potential biological mechanisms linking the work under this system with the development of osteoporosis. We have identified only four studies investigating the association between system of work and bone mineral density or fracture risk among workers. The findings of three out of four studies support the hypothesis. None of the studies has investigated a potential relationship between night shift work and bone turnover markers. Given that there have been no epidemiological studies in European countries that would concern working populations and the noticeable difference in the risk of osteoporosis between communities, further studies are warranted to elucidate the problem. It is presumed that further in-depth studies will not only identify the underlying factors of the disease but also contribute to developing guidelines for policy makers and employers for primary prevention of osteoporosis in workplace.