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Stroke Doubles Risk of Hip, Thigh Fractures
Date:8/6/2009

Preventive measures urgently needed, researcher says

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of a hip or thigh bone fracture is doubled for people who have a stroke, a new Dutch study finds.

That finding shows a need for immediate preventive action after a stroke, said Frank de Vries, an assistant professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Utrecht, and lead author of a report that appears online Aug. 6 in the journal Stroke.

"We know from other studies that bone loss starts rapidly after stroke," de Vries said. "Furthermore, there is evidence from a randomized controlled trial in an Asian population that administration of bisphosphonates, bone-protecting agents, immediately after a stroke reduces bone loss and hip fracture after a year. Other treatments include vitamin D administration, increased mobility, and restoration of motor function. Deformities that limit a normal gait should be corrected. In general, all treatments should be started as early as possible."

Stroke survivors and older people in general should take measures to prevent future falls, de Vries said.

"General fall-preventing strategies include the use of a walking aid, wearing shoes with broad heels and non-slip soles, and minimizing risk factors in and around the home," he said. "A medication review by a doctor or pharmacist may result in discontinuation of drugs that increase risk of falling, such as certain hypnotics and blood pressure-lowering drugs."

The study compared 6,763 people in the Netherlands who had fractures of the hip and/or femur with a group of 26,341 people matched for age, gender and location who had no such fractures. The overall risk of fractures was 1.96 times higher for all stroke survivors and 2.12 times higher among women who had strokes.

The youngest stroke survivors, those 70 or younger, had the highest risk: 5.12 times normal, the researchers found.

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