Women With High Genetic Fracture Risk Benefit More From Hormone Therapy, Study Finds
Women who are genetically predisposed to bone fractures may benefit the most from hormone therapy. This is according to a University at Buffalo study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
UPI reports that the study included about 10,000 women who are part of a long-term study Women’s Health Initiative, which includes over 150,000. Researchers concluded that hormone therapy decreases fracture risk postmenopausal women who are at higher risk for low bone mineral density.
“We found that women who are genetically at the highest risk can enjoy the greatest protection from fracture when they use hormone therapy,” Heather Ochs-Balcom, an associate professor at UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, said in a press release. “This study provides a better understanding of who can benefit the most in terms of bone health from hormone therapy use. It’s important information as women and their doctors make decisions about hormone therapy use.”
As women age, bone mineral density tends to decrease, leaving them susceptible to bone fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about half of women over 50 will break a bone because of this condition. While these injuries can easily be treated at about 80% of urgent care centers, they can be problematic when experienced repeatedly.
According to The University at Buffalo press release, this study is the first of its kind. Ochs-Balcom said that this adds data to the growing understanding of hormone therapy.
“Our study represents a first look at how inherited predisposition to fracture is related to hormone therapy use,” she said. “This is important because, as previous WHI studies have identified, there are risks and benefits with hormone therapy. This is where precision or personalized medicine comes in — the attempt to get the right drugs to the right person to ensure the most benefit and least harm.”
Hormone therapy has a variety of uses other than increasing bone mineral density, such as reversing hair loss in postmenopausal women. This condition, inflicting 21 million women, is caused by a low amount of estrogen.
Youin Wang, first author on the study, said in the press release that the findings from this study open doors to further investigation about the effect of hormone therapy. The research team also recently published a paper on the connection between calcium plus vitamin D supplements and genetic fracture predisposition.
“Further studies on gene-therapy interaction are warranted to evaluate the advantages of targeted interventions based on genetic profile,” she said.