ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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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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