Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Date of Graduation


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jon Gietzen MS, PA-C


Background: Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disorder causing millions of fractures a year in postmenopausal women. The cause of the disease is multifaceted, and there are many risk factors associated. Low levels of estrogen and inadequate calcium intake contribute to osteoporosis. Women of child bearing age experience decreased levels of estrogen and their calcium stores become depleted during pregnancy. Pregnancy causes metabolic changes, and the demands of the fetus can leave the mother deficient in calcium. Her body is reabsorbing calcium quicker than it can be made. Hormone levels are also affected during pregnancy. Estrogen is decreased and its protective benefits on bone strength are compromised. The deficiency is also prolonged in the event of breast feeding.

Objective: To investigate if the hormone or calcium deficiency women experience with multiple gestations puts them at a greater risk for postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Design: Questionnaire filled out by the patient prior to DEXA scan testing. The occurrence of osteoporosis and variables such as weight, ethnicity, the cause of menopause, HRT, and gravidity will be analyzed via percentages, chi square, and p-value, to determine if the information is statistically significant. Setting: This study was completed gathering data from Holy Cross Clinic in Penasco, New Mexico, Holy Cross Hospital Radiology Department in Taos, New Mexico, and Olympic Imaging in Port Angeles, Washington.

Subjects: Postmenopausal women who had Dexa scans with T scores of the spine and hip recorded.

Results: A total of 72 postmenopausal women were in the study. A chart review obtained data of 39 women, and a questionnaire was filled out by 33 women. Eighteen women had osteoporosis, but only 15 had a known gravidity. Osteoporotic women with gravidity :s 3 had a p value of:S 1, therefore being statistically insignificant. When looking at weight and osteoporosis, a p value of 0.0074 was statistically significant.

Conclusions: Multiple pregnancies are not a good indication of whether a woman is at risk for osteoporosis. The data collected on women taking HRT was inconsistent, .and therefore, also is not a good predictor of osteoporosis. The best predictor of osteoporosis for this study is the risk factor of low body weight.


The digital version of this project is currently unavailable to off-campus users; however, it may be requested via interlibrary loan by eligible borrowers from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender. (Library Use: NL)