Most Stroke Patients Don’t get Tested For Osteoporosis Which Increases Risk Of Fractures

Osteoporosis is characterized by weak and fragile bones. The ailment makes bones so brittle that simple acts such as a low-impact fall or even bending can result in bone breakage. This condition develops over the years and is often identified once a person has suffered a fracture.

Meanwhile a stroke is a condition in which the arteries of the brain are effected. A stroke happens when an artery carrying oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain is cogged by a clot or when it bursts. Unfortunately, both of these conditions are associated. People who have suffered a stroke are more likely to have bone fractures and osteoporosis.

This is because individuals who have had a stroke are often left with decreased mobility which increases their risk of bone problems by 4x. Osteoporosis risk can be assessed and prevented by doctors if they screen patients who have had a stroke.

Alas, most patients of stroke do not get tested or treated for osteoporosis which just increases the risk of fractures and consequent complications, as per a new study.

What Does This New Research Reveal?

A new research, which has been published in the American Heart Association’s journal called Stroke, has found that few stroke survivors are tested and treated for osteoporosis despite stroke being a known risk factor for the bone-related condition. People who have had a stroke are at a 4 times higher risk of developing osteoporosis than healthy people.

Stroke survivors often struggle with decreased mobility due to reduced bone mineral density as well as bumped up risk for bone fractures. Fewer than 1 in 3 US older women are tested for osteoporosis and the treatment rate is maximum 30% for high-risk patients.

For the purpose of this research, the information of stroke survivors who were aged 65 or older who had been hospitalized or had visited the emergency ward for stroke between 2003 and 2013 from the Ontario State Registry were analyzed.

It was found that of the 16,581 stroke survivors, only 5.1% had been tested for bone mineral density and 15.5% were given medication prescription for osteoporosis. Of the people who did get screened, younger females who had had fractures following their stroke were more likely to get bone mineral density testing.

Lead researcher of this study, Moira Kapral says, “Our study adds to previous research that found despite an increased risk, only a small number of people who have recently had a stroke are tested and treated for osteoporosis.”

However, there is a limitation to this study. It has been conducted in a province where the healthcare policy is to pay for the testing and treatment for osteoporosis. Therefore, it can be said that this study may not be applicable to other places that do not have this policy in place.


Keeping in view the established link that stroke shares with osteoporosis, that stroke can increase osteoporosis risk by many times, patients who have suffered a stroke should get tested and treated for osteoporosis as well. Not getting meds prescribed for stronger bones can increase the risk of fractures.