Vitamin D levels low in almost all hip fracture patients

Related tags Osteoporosis

Nearly all hip fracture patients are deficient, sometimes severely,
in vitamin D, researchers in Scotland reported this week.

Reviewing the cases of 548 patients over the age of 60 who were admitted at South Glasgow University Hospital during a four-year period, the researchers found that 97.8 per cent had vitamin D levels below normal.

In around a quarter of the group studied, levels were so low that they were "effectively unrecordable"​, said the authors in the online issue of Current Medical Research and Opinion​ (DOI: 10.1185/030079905X59148).

Vitamin D currently only makes up 4 per cent of all vitamin sales and lags well behind calcium in terms of bone health supplements. But increasing evidence underlines its importance in protecting against fractures.

In a second prospective study phase, the researchers looked at vitamin D levels among the first 50 patients admitted to the hospital with an osteoporosis fracture after November 2004.

More than 80 per cent had vitamin D levels below 70 nmol/L and 72 per cent had vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L.

"Although numbers were too small to justify extensive subgroup analyses, the mean vitamin D level in the 13 patients with hip fracture was lower than in the 37 with non-hip fractures,"​ said the researchers.

They conclude: "It may be that vitamin D represents a correctable risk factor for fragility fracture in the elderly, possibly specifically for the hip."

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