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Low Blood Sodium Levels Linked To Falls, Fractures In Elderly

November 19, 2010: 04:07 AM EST

A study by Dutch scientists has found that chronic hyponatremia – low levels of sodium in the blood of older adults – may be a major cause of fractures from falls, which account for as much as half of elderly deaths from injuries. Researchers studied 5,200 adults over 55 years old for six years to confirm earlier studies that had found a link between low blood sodium levels, falls, osteoporosis and fractures. Though low sodium levels did not seem to affect the risk of osteoporosis, those who had hyponatremia, possibly from taking diuretics, had a higher rate of falls during follow-up: 24 versus 16 percent. And  the group with low sodium levels had a higher rate of fractures. “Chronic hyponatremia is not a benign condition,” researchers concluded, advising blood screening, monitoring and treatment.

Ewout J. Hoorn, et al., "Mild Hyponatremia as a Risk Factor for Fractures: The Rotterdam Study", Presentation, American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting, November 19, 2010, © American Society of Nephrology
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