ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
CAREGIVING
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures

MONDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- People with heart failure face a higher risk of fractures, particularly of potentially crippling breaks in the hip bones, new Canadian research finds.

The study of more than 16,000 heart disease patients treated at emergency rooms in the province of Alberta found a more than fourfold higher incidence of fractures among the 2,000 of them with heart failure. The report is in the Nov. 4 issue of Circulation.

Overall, 4.6 percent of those with heart failure, the progressive loss of the heart's ability to pump blood, had broken bones in the year after the emergency room visit, compared to only 1 percent of people with other heart conditions. The one-year rate for hip fractures was 1.3 percent for those with heart failure, compared to 0.1 percent of those with other heart conditions.

While a 1997 study found a hint of low bone density among people getting heart transplants because of heart failure, "this is the first large-scale study of heart failure and fracture rate," said study author Dr. Justin A. Ezekowitz, director of the Heart Function Clinic at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton.

The finding has several important implications for people with heart failure and the doctors who treat them, Ezekowitz said. The higher incidence of hip fractures is especially worrying, he said, since, "they can be seriously debilitating for older folks, increasing the risk of blood clots to the legs and development of pneumonia."

"First, we need appropriate treatment of osteoporosis for patients with heart failure," Ezekowitz said. "Second, we need to encourage heart failure patients to maintain exercise and good nutrition."

Osteoporosis is loss of bone mass that increases the risk of fracture. Exercise and proper dieting are recommended to help prevent the condition.

It's not clear why heart failure should lead to weaker bones, Ezekowitz said. One theory is that the diuretic drugs often prescribed for people with heart failure might be bad for the bones, he said. Another possibility is the higher level of parathyroid hormone, which handles calcium and magnesium, often seen in heart failure could have a bone-weakening effect.

Physicians treating people for heart failure need to be more aware of the risk of fractures, said Dr. Mariell L. Jessup, director of the heart failure and transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

"When patients have such a severe disease, we tend to ignore the other problems they might have," Jessup said. "There is good reason to focus on the total patient, and not just their heart failure."

Awareness of the vitamin D status of someone with heart failure is important, both Jessup and Ezekowitz said. Vitamin D is directly involved in bone strength. But both expressed doubts about using vitamin D supplements specifically for heart failure patients.

"People should be on vitamin D supplements according to the guidelines for osteoporosis care," Ezekowitz said. "There haven't been a lot of clinical trials testing vitamin D supplements in heart failure patients."

Asked about vitamin D, Jessup said, "I treat heart disease. I leave that question to the endocrinologists."

-Ed Edelson

More information

Heart failure is described by the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Justin A. Ezekowitz, director, Heart Function Clinic, assistant professor, medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Mariell L. Jessup, professor, medicine, and director, heart failure and transplant program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Nov. 4, 2008, Circulation

Last Updated: Oct. 20, 2008

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