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Osteoporosis fractures more likely to prove fatal for men than women

Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Fractures sustained as a result of osteoporosis are more likely to prove fatal to men than women, according to new research. Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock
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Radiographers treating osteoporosis-related fractures may need to be stricter with their aftercare advice to men than they are with women after a new study revealed subsequent fractures are more likely to prove fatal for males.

Research carried out at the University of California, San Francisco found that while 87 per cent of the fractures sustained in the US affect women, it is their male counterparts who are more likely to die from complications relating to a bone break.

Scientists analysed data relating to over one million fractures sustained between 2005 and 2009 and found that 12 months after the incident, 19 per cent of men had passed away, compared to 13 per cent of women.

This was found to be the case for all types of fracture except for those affecting the ankles, for which similar death rates were recorded for both sexes.

Women were five times more likely overall to suffer fractures, but men were significantly more likely to fracture a bone for a second or third time during the following three years.

This suggests that women's bones may be better at healing even in spite of their osteoporosis.

As a result, men may benefit from more intense advice and counselling from radiographers or other healthcare professionals to emphasise the importance of them safeguarding their bones from further fractures that could prove fatal.

Dr Alan Zhang, lead author of the study, commented: "Although women are more likely to sustain an initial, osteoporosis-related 'fragility fracture', men have similar rates of incurring a subsequent fracture and are at greater risk for mortality after these injuries.

"The key findings from this study show that patient sex can affect the risk for sustaining a fragility fracture related to osteoporosis. These findings may be used to better counsel patients after an initial fragility fracture."

Dr Zhang's research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Diego on Tuesday March 14th.

Written by Megan Smith

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