Older men with Parkinson's disease at increased risk of bone fractures

10/11/05

MINNEAPOLIS Oct. 12, 2005 Researchers found that Parkinson's disease (PD) in older men is associated with lower bone mineral density and suggested that physicians should consider screening older male patients with PD for osteoporosis. This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers looked at a group of nearly 6,000 men, aged 65 and older, including 52 with PD, to determine the association between the disease and low bone density and falls in older men. Those with PD were found to have significantly lower bone density at the spine and hip. Further, PD was associated with a nearly three times greater risk of multiple future falls.

With lower bone density and the increased risk for falls, older men with PD are more likely to have less dense or "thin" bones that are more easily fractured or broken, compared to those who don't have the disease.

However, because most of the men who participated in the study were community dwelling (rather than in nursing homes or similar facilities), largely healthy, and white, these findings might not apply to those with more severe PD, to women, to those in nursing homes, or to other racial groups, the researchers report.

The researchers suggest that older men with Parkinson's disease ask their physicians about having their bone density measured. Patients should also inquire about ways to boost bone density with safe exercises and appropriate doses of such bone-building nutrients such as calcium and vitamins D and K.

Parkinson's disease is a treatable, but not curable, nerve disorder that causes worsening tremors, difficulty moving, and balance problems. PD is increasingly common with age and affects about 6 in every 1,000 adults aged 65 to 69, and 30 in every 1,000 adults older than 80.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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