Wrist fractures could predict susceptibility to serious fractures in postmenopausal women

November 10, 2015, University of California, Los Angeles

Wrist fractures are common among postmenopausal women who are younger than 65 and a new UCLA-led study suggests that they may also predict more serious fractures in other parts of their bodies later in life.

The researchers on the study, published in the November issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that one in five women who had experienced a broken wrist went on to suffer a non-wrist fracture during the next 10 years. They also said suggest that women who broke a wrist stood a 40 percent higher chance of breaking other bones during the subsequent 11 years compared with women who did not break a wrist.

"Our results emphasize that wrist do identify a group of women at particular risk for future fracture," said Dr. Carolyn Crandall, the study's lead author and a professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "The information highlights the great importance of working to develop strategies to prevent future fractures after an initial wrist fracture occurs."

The researchers used information from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), whose participants were aged 50 to 79 at the start of the study in 1993. More than 160,000 women answered annual questionnaires detailing the fractures they experienced during more than a decade of follow-ups, allowing the researchers to detect fracture trends among them. The researchers examined the types of non-wrist fractures the women experienced following their initial bone break.

They found that having a wrist fracture was associated with:

  • a 50 percent higher risk of subsequent spine fractures
  • an 80 percent higher risk for upper arm fractures
  • a 90 percent higher risk of a lower arm non-wrist fracture
  • a 40 percent higher risk of leg fractures
  • a 50 percent higher risk of hip fractures

These associations persisted even after adjusting for factors such as bone , physical activity, smoking and alcohol use, calcium and vitamin D intake, falls and all other known fracture risk factors. The researchers suggest that aberrations in bone structure or strength could be behind this increased fracture risk.

The study has some limitations. Self-reporting of fractures may not be as accurate as medically verified breaks, but misclassifications of fractures in the WHI have been low; WHI participants may be healthier than other women, so these findings may not be representative of postmenopausal women as a whole and the number of women who had normal density but nonetheless suffered wrist fractures was low

But the findings indicate a "substantial missed opportunity" to devise interventions to prevent subsequent fractures in women who experienced a wrist fracture, the researchers write. Women who suffer such fractures should undergo bone mineral density testing, and women with a bone mineral density T-score of equal to or less than -1.0 should be diagnosed as having osteoporosis, they write.

"Studies should develop and test interventions specifically targeted to women with sentinel forearm fracture," the write. "Our findings support the approach of the recent position statement advocating that with should undergo () testing."

Explore further: Wrist fracture linked to higher subsequent fracture risk

Related Stories

Wrist fracture linked to higher subsequent fracture risk

October 26, 2015
(HealthDay)—For postmenopausal women, wrist fracture is associated with increased risk of subsequent non-wrist fracture, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Abaloparatide benefits a wide range of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis

September 19, 2016
A recent analysis of results from a randomized controlled clinical trial indicates that abaloparatide-SC, a novel therapy for osteoporosis, provides consistent protection against bone fractures in postmenopausal women with ...

Fewer BMD tests may be indicated for some women

June 10, 2015
(HealthDay)—A postmenopausal woman who is 50 and has a normal bone density test may not need her next such test for 10 or even 15 years, according to research published in the June issue of Menopause.

Wrist fractures linked to poor balance in elderly patients

July 21, 2016
Elderly patients suffering a low energy wrist (distal radius) fracture are more likely to have difficulties with balance, placing them at risk for future injuries, according to a new study appearing in the July 20, 2016 issue ...

Osteoporosis, not just a woman's disease

November 5, 2014
Each year nearly two million Americans suffer osteoporosis-related fractures, and as the population ages that number is expected to increase dramatically, placing a major burden on the health care system. While osteoporosis ...

Osteoporosis screening guidelines miss many younger post-menopausal women

October 21, 2014
To reduce the risk of bone fractures and the complications arising from them, the United States Preventive Services Task force (USPSTF) recommends that all women age 65 and older be tested and treated for low bone mineral ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find infectious prions throughout eyes of patients with deadly sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

November 20, 2018
By the time symptoms of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) are typically discovered, death is looming and inevitable. But, in a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues ...

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.