Study shows low sodium levels may contribute to bone fractures in older adults

According to a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition, older adults with mildly decreased levels of sodium in the blood, which is known as hyponatremia, can experience increased rates of fractures and falls.

The study included more than 5,200 Dutch adults who were over age 55, all of whom had initial information on sodium levels and six-year follow-up data on fractures and falls. About 8 percent of the study participants had hyponatremia. This group of participants had a higher rate of diabetes and was more likely to use diuretics, or water pills, than those with normal sodium levels.

The results show that subjects with hyponatremia had a 24 percent higher rate of falls during follow-up, versus 16 percent among the other participants. However, there was no difference in bone mineral density between groups, so the condition was not related to underlying osteoporosis.

Those with hyponatremia also had a 21 percent increase in the risk of death during follow-up.

"Screening older adults for and treatment of hyponatremia in older adults may be an important new strategy to prevent fractures," said Ewout J. Hoorn of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
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