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Patients with Parkinson’s disease at greater risk of fragility fractures


18 Dec 2019

People with Parkinson’s disease are at greater risk of hip fractures and other non-vertebral fractures due to balance problems and poorer bone health, a new review study has found.

The researchers argue that these findings support making fracture risk assessment a part of standard care for Parkinson’s patients.

Published in the journal Bone, the review analysed data from 18 studies including more than 2.3 million people to assess whether patients with Parkinson’s are at greater risk of fractures compared to the general population.

It found that people with Parkinson’s had a more than two-fold increased risk of hip fractures and a nearly two-fold increased risk of non-vertebral fractures than others their age without the disease.

Sub-group analysis also found men to be at greater risk of hip fracture compared to women, thought by the researchers to be due to the lower rate of broken bones (particularly hip fractures) in men than in women without Parkinson’s.

“Neurological conditions are emerging as important risk factors for fracture and this meta-analysis confirms that people with Parkinson’s are at significant risk,” says our nurse consultant, Sarah Leyland.

“They should be considered for fracture risk assessment, as well as falls risk assessment, and advised appropriately to prevent future fractures,” she added.

The researchers have recommended a re-evaluation of the clinical guidelines on bone health in patients with Parkinson’s to address their increased risk of fragility fractures.

“Patients with Parkinson's disease have an increased risk of hip and non-vertebral fractures, which has to be considered when managing these patients in clinical practice,” said Marian Schini, lead researcher of the study at the University of Sheffield.

“Further research is advised to evaluate whether treatments for osteoporosis could benefit these patients and reduce the number of fractures. One trial is starting soon in the USA (the TOPAZ study).”

See the original study