New Australian research is showing that fractures of other bones, not just the hip or spine, may also increase the mortality risk in the same way a hip fracture can. They make up 50% of all osteoporotic fractures, and while they are less severe than hip and fractures, they are potentially very serious, and should be treated with the same seriousness.
This conclusion came from a study of the data from the Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, the world’s longest-running large-scale epidemiological study of osteoporotic bone fractures. Associate Professor Jackie Center and Dr Dana Bliuc have examined this data from, and have analyzed data for different fracture types in various age groups over 60. What they also calculated was the associated risk of premature death after the initial fracture for each fracture type, as well as the risk of re-fracture and premature death following the re-fracture.
“The important point we make is that all fractures are serious, some more serious than others, and most have the potential to reduce life expectancy” said Dr Dana Bliuc
We do know that hip fractures have much poorer outcomes and higher mortality, for example, than vertebral fractures but those close to the body, such as humerus, rib or pelvic fractures, can be as serious as vertebral fractures, and have the potential to shorten life.
Why the first fracture is important
Common fractures such as those in the wrist or ankle, do not in themselves shorten life, although they should be taken seriously because they double the risk of re-fracture. It is also age-related as if you are over 75, the risk of having a subsequent fracture is the same, no matter what the initial fracture type. This is important to know, because the second fracture could be a hip or vertebral fracture, even though the initial fracture is not.
In the 5 years after initial fracture, about a third will experience a re-fracture and increase their mortality risk. The report noted that this is substantially increased for men as if a man has another fracture after an initial hip fracture there is a massive an 80-90% mortality risk.
Why hormone balance is crucial
Fractures impose an enormous health burden on both the individual and their family with the care that may be required so preventive action is essential.
Both progesterone and oestrogen are necessary for strong and healthy bones and to help avoid fractures.and osteoporosis. The two hormones have different, but complementary functions: oestrogen can help retain old bone for longer, but progesterone is needed for actual bone building and renewal as the old bone is broken down and cleared away.
The fact that our bones continue to grow throughout our lives means we have to provide the optimum conditions to help them do that and progesterone is essential for building new bone so even though damage may be severe there is still the opportunity to build healthy bone.
it is perfectly safe, and indeed advisable to take supplemental progesterone for hormone balance and to protect the bones in these circumstances. Dr John Lee, the pioneer of natural progesterone usage, said it was never too late to take it for osteoporosis and indeed he had elderly patients on it who showed good results.
Conventional treatment after a fracture usually involves alendronic acid and drugs such as Fosamax but they also carry potential health problems and side effects. Most often reported are digestive problems, oesophageal ulceration and an increases the risk of arterial fibrillation. If you are on such drugs then please note that you cannot use bioidentical progesterone at the same time because of interaction between them.