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Eczema associated with osteoporosis-related fractures

People with the itchy skin condition eczema are more likely than others to have osteoporosis – which may be undiagnosed – and fractures, according to a new analysis.
Eczema, which is marked by red, swollen, itchy skin, can be caused by other diseases, irritants or allergies. It is usually treated with topical corticosteroids or oral antihistamines.
“There are a number of reasons why people with eczema may be at higher risk for osteoporosis,” said Dr. Jonathan I. Silverberg of the departments of dermatology, preventive medicine and medical social sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago.
“It may be that chronic inflammation occurring in eczema may directly impact upon bone mineral density,” Silverberg told Reuters Health by email.
People with eczema tend to be more sedentary and exercise less since sweating can worsen the itch, he said. Weight bearing exercise helps maintain bone density.
Silverberg and his coauthor Dr. Nitin K. Garg used the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyze national levels of fractures among people with eczema. The surveys include questions about doctor diagnoses of eczema, osteoporosis and fractures of the hip, spine, wrist or other bones. Respondents also underwent bone mineral density tests.
Of the nearly 5,000 people included in the study, seven percent reported a diagnosis of eczema. Nearly a third of the total group had suffered a bone fracture.
For those without eczema, 32 percent had suffered a fracture, compared to 41 percent of those with eczema, according to the results published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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