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Grandad´s hip fracture a risk factor for Osteoporosis

11 March 2013 University of Gothenburg

Has your paternal or maternal grandfather broken their hip on any occasion? In that case there is a greater risk that your own bones are more fragile as an adult. This has been demonstrated in a thesis at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden based on a study of over 1,000 young adults in Gothenburg, which identified those factors increasing the risk of bone fragility in men.

The thesis of the PhD student Robert Rudäng at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, has evaluated how different factors affect skeletal health during adult life.

In the thesis, which is based on studies of just over 1,000 young men in Gothenburg, several previously unknown risk factors for osteoporosis in men were identified:

• men whose maternal or paternal grandfather have suffered a hip fracture have a clearly increased risk of osteoporosis in the form of low bone density and smaller bone size. Compared with men whose maternal or paternal grandfather had not broken their hip, the difference is between 3 to 5 per cent

• the same risk, though not so pronounced, is found in the case of men born of an older mother

• a further risk factor is smoking, whereby the development of bone density in the lumbar region and hip for men who start smoking around 20 is only half as sastisfactory up to the age of 25 or so, when compared with non-smokers

• suffering a fracture in childhood or adolescence has a clear link with microstructure impairment of the skeleton in young adult men, which in the study is shown to contribute to lower skeletal strength of roughly 3 to 4 per cent.

 “Previous studies have shown that skeletal health in young adulthood may play a determining role for the risk of suffering osteoporosis and fractures later in life. The studies presented in my thesis identify new risk factors and can hopefully be used to identify, early on, those individuals at risk thereby making it possible to prevent the development of osteoporosis,” states Robert Rudäng.

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