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Genes May Link Hip Fractures and Heart Disease
Date:10/20/2009

Risks for breaks rise if a brother or sister has heart failure or stroke, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- People with cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure and stroke -- and probably their close relatives as well -- may have an increased risk for hip fractures, a new study has found.

Genetic factors might explain the relationship, including "specific genes involved in cellular mechanisms shared by the vasculature [blood vessels] and bone," said Dr. Karl Michaelsson, an associate professor of medicine at Uppsala University in Sweden and an author of a report on the finding in the Oct. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, which involved 31,936 twins in the Swedish Twin Registry, found more than a fourfold increased risk for hip fractures for people who had heart failure, which is a progressive loss of the heart's ability to pump blood, and about a fivefold increased risk for those who'd had a stroke, compared with people with no diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. An increased risk was also found for people with other heart conditions, such as blocked coronary arteries.

The researchers also found that if one twin had a cardiovascular condition, the other twin also faced an increased risk for hip fracture -- even if that twin was healthy. They described those individuals as "pseudoexposed," meaning that because they are twins, they share the genetic factors that increase the risk for fractures.

For instance, hip fracture risk was 3.7-fold higher for a healthy twin whose twin had heart failure and 2.9-fold higher if the twin had had a stroke.

The finding means that anyone with a close relative, such as a brother or sister, with cardiovascular disease should be aware of a probable increased risk for hip fractures, Michaelsson said.

"I recommend to them to have their fracture risk evaluated by a bone scan to assess bone mi
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