Fluoride-Related Bone Disease Associated With Habitual Tea Consumption

Johnson, Julie E. Hallanger; Kearns, Ann E.; Doran, Patrick M.; Teck Kim Khoo; Wermers, Robert A.
June 2007
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;Jun2007, Vol. 82 Issue 6, p719
Academic Journal
Acquired osteosclerosis is a rare disorder of bone formation but an important consideration in adults with sclerotic bones or elevated bone density results, in such patients, malignancy, hepatitis C, and fluorosis should all be considered when making a diagnosis. We describe 4 patients evaluated at our Metabolic Bone Disease Clinic from May 1, 1997, to July 1, 2006, whose bone disorders resulted from chronic fluoride exposure due to excessive tea intake. Three of these patients had toxic serum fluoride levels (>15 μmol/L). Although the clinical presentation of the patients varied, all 4 had an unexpectedly elevated spine bone mineral density that was proportionately higher than the bone mineral density at the hip. Other clinical features included gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and weight loss; lower extremity pain sometimes associated with stress fractures of the lower extremities; renal insufficiency; and elevated alkaline phosphatase levels. Readily available, tea often contains high levels of fluoride. Obsessive-compulsive drinking behaviors and renal insufficiency may predispose to excessive fluoride consumption and accumulation. The current cases show that fluoride-related bone disease is an important clinical consideration in patients with dense bones or gastrointestinal symptoms and a history of excessive tea consumption. Furthermore, fluoride excess should be considered in all patients with a history of excessive tea consumption, especially due to its insidious nature and nonspecific clinical presentation.


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