August 7, 2009

Stroke Doubles Risk of Bone Fractures

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, in the United States, about 300,000 people fracture their hip every year, and about 20 percent of these people die of their fracture within a year. Stroke patients have about twice the increased risk of breaking a hip or femur, than those who have not suffered stoke, according to reports from a recent study.

In the study, a team of Dutch researchers looked at 6,763 patients who had a hip or femur fracture and compared them to 26,341 people who have not suffered from fractures. Age, gender, and location were all taken into consideration.

In general, stroke patients were twice as likely to have a bone fracture, with an even higher risk in women. In addition, the more recent the stroke (first three months), the risk was more than three times higher than those who had not suffered a stroke. Surprisingly, the study also found stroke survivors who were considered younger, 70 years of age and below, were at the highest risk for a bone fracture.

"Our findings imply that it is important to conduct fracture risk assessment immediately after a patient is hospitalized for stroke," Frank de Vries, Ph.D., senior author of the study and assistant professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands was quoted as saying. "Fall prevention programs, bone mineral density measurements and medicines to strengthen bones may be necessary to minimize hip fractures in the elderly both during and after stroke rehabilitation."


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