44 percent of postmenopausal women with distal radius fracture have low levels of vitamin D

February 7, 2012, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Wrist fractures, also called distal radius fractures (DRF), are among the most common osteoporosis-related fractures occurring on average 15 years earlier than hip fractures. As vitamin D deficiency has recently been linked with muscle weakness, increased fall risks, and bone fractures, investigators sought to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among post menopausal women with DRF. The study, "Hypovitaminosis D in Postmenopausal Women with a Distal Radius Fracture," was presented today at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Medical records of 104 post menopausal women treated for a DRF, and 107 age-matched control patients with soft tissue disease, were reviewed. Mean vitamin D levels were "significantly" lower in the DRF group of patients. Specifically, 26 percent of the DRF patients were vitamin D insufficient (having vitamin D serum levels between 20 and 32 ng/ml), and 18 percent, deficient ( below 20 ng/ml), compared to 11 percent and 2 percent of patients being vitamin D insufficient and deficient, respectively, in the control group.

Further research may determine whether vitamin D supplementation (or, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels) can help prevent distal radius fractures, or prevent future fractures in patients that experience their first distal radius fracture.

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