People With Eczema More Likely to Suffer Bone Fractures, Study Finds

People with eczema are more likely to suffer fractures, according to a study.

Researchers compared 526,808 people with atopic eczema, the most common form of the condition, and 2,569,030 without. They looked at whether the participants have suffered hip, pelvic, spinal or wrist fractures.

The worse a person's eczema was, the greater their chances of having a fracture, the team found. The likelihood of having a fracture was 13 percent greater in people with atopic eczema compared to people without, from the baseline. People with the condition had a "dramatically" increased risk of fracture, at 50 percent more hip fractures, 66 percent more pelvis fractures, and more than double the risk of spine fractures, study co-author Sinéad Langan, professor of clinical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told Newsweek.

Langan stressed the risk is still low. "If you have atopic eczema, please don't be too concerned by our findings," she said.

"However, although the overall risk is low, the substantial increase in the risk of spine, hip and pelvic fractures seen in those with severe atopic eczema is particularly concerning, given the serious health issues associated with these fractures," said Langan.

"We were surprised by how much fracture risk increased in people with severe atopic eczema, we had not expected it would be quite that increased," said Langan.

Her team investigated this potential connection after they found research linking atopic eczema and osteoporosis, a condition where bones are weaker and more prone to breaking.

"But the existing evidence for a potential link between atopic eczema and fracture itself was a little limited," Langan said. Her team had also seen patients with osteoporosis and osteopenia, "suggesting that we should look at this more closely."

It's unclear what is underlying the link, Langan explained.

"For example, people with eczema may have daily allergies, make dietary changes (some believe that certain foods trigger eczema flares) or avoid exercise (as sweating may increase the itch associated with their atopic eczema); these factors may make them more prone to fractures," she said.

In light of the findings, bone density screenings should consider including people with more severe atopic eczema "in order to prevent fractures, improve long-term quality of life, and reduce fracture-related healthcare costs," said Langan.

"However, regardless of whether you have atopic eczema or not, everyone should be doing some exercise, particularly weight-bearing exercise, to strengthen their bones to help prevent osteoporosis," she added.

eczema, dry skin, getty, stock,
A stock image shows a person putting cream on their dry skin. Evidence suggests there is a link between eczema and bone fractures. Getty