Hyponatremia Increases Risk of Falls in Elderly

Hyponatremia is a significant risk factor for falls in the elderly, finds a new study conducted by researchers at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso.

Hyponatremia is a significant risk factor for falls in the elderly, a new study finds. The study, conducted by researchers at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, was published online earlier this month in the Journal of Nephrology.

The study compared the serum sodium levels of 249 experimental patients aged 65 and older who were hospitalized with a hip fracture due to a fall over a three-year period with 44 controls who were ambulatory patients admitted to the hospital for elective hip or knee replacement surgery over the same period. The researchers found that the experimental patients had a 16.9% prevalence of hyponatremia compared with a 4.6% prevalence in the controls. The odds ratio for hip fracture associated with each 10-year increase in age was 5.57. Controlling for age, hip fracture patients were five times as likely to have hyponatremia as controls.

The researchers concluded that even mild hyponatremia appears to be a risk factor for falls, and that correction of hyponatremia in the elderly has the potential to reduce morbidity and mortality and also impact socioeconomic status.