Anemia and Risk of Fractures in Older Korean Adults: A Nationwide Population-based Study

Lee EA1, Shin DW1, Yoo JH1, Ko HY2, Jeong SM3.

J Bone Miner Res. 2019 Jan 28. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3675. [Epub ahead of print]

Anemia is a common health problem in older adults and is associated with risk factors for fracture such as low physical function and low bone mass. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between anemia and fracture risk in older adults. We conducted a retrospective cohort study from 2003 to 2013. The participants were community-dwelling Korean adults aged 65 years and older who participated in the National Health Screening Program (n = 72,131) between 2003 and 2008. Anemia (<12 g/dL for women and <13 g/dL for men) and severity of anemia (mild: 11g/dL ≤ Hb < 12 g/dL, moderate to severe: Hb < 11g/dL) were defined by World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. The incidence of any fractures, vertebral fractures, and femur fractures was identified using ICD-10 codes. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to assess risk of fracture according to anemia. Anemia was associated with increased risk of fracture in men (Any: adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-1.41; vertebral: aHR 1.20, 95% CI 1.03-1.40; femur: aHR 1.71, 95% CI 1.44-2.04), and less strongly, but still significantly in women (Any: aHR 1.10, 95% CI 1.11-1.41; vertebral: aHR 1.11, 95% CI 1.03-1.20; femur: aHR 1.37, 95% CI 1.25-1.52). Higher risk was observed in subjects with moderate-to-severe anemia in both sexes. Considering the high prevalence of anemia in older adults, it is important that health professionals recognize increased fracture risk in older adults with anemia.


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