Wrist Fractures, Functional Decline Linked in Older Women

Wrist fracture associated with 48 percent higher chance of clinically important decline
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Wrist fractures in older women can result in clinically important functional decline, according to a study published online July 8 in BMJ.

Beatrice J. Edwards, M.D., of Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues studied a group of 6,107 women, aged 65 and older, from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, none of whom had a history of wrist or hip fracture. The researchers followed the women for the incidence of wrist fracture, and gauged its effect on clinically important functional decline, defined as a five-point decrease in a composite score (one to 15 points) for routine activities: meal preparation, heavy housekeeping, climbing stairs, shopping, and getting out of a car.

Over a mean 7.6 years, the researchers found that 268 women suffered wrist fractures, and 15 percent of them had clinically important functional decline. Among women with wrist fractures, the odds of having a clinically important functional decline was increased by 48 percent compared to women without a wrist fracture, even after adjusting for baseline functional status, health status, age, body mass index, lifestyle factors, comorbidities, and neuromuscular function.

"The effect of a wrist fracture on clinically important functional decline was as significant as that of other established risk factors for functional decline such as falls, diabetes, and arthritis. Wrist fractures are common and result in clinically important functional decline in women who are fairly healthy and physically fit. Because of the magnitude of the problem and the consequences of the complications, greater public health awareness of the impact of osteoporotic wrist fractures is needed," the authors write.

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