People who develop kidney stones may be at increased risk of experiencing bone fractures, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The findings suggest that preventive efforts may be needed to help protect stone formers’ bone health.

People who form stones in the kidneys and urinary tract—a condition called urolithiasis—may have reduced bone mineral density and an increased risk of bone fractures. To assess the link between urolithiasis and bone fractures, Michelle Denburg, MD, MSCE from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and her colleagues analyzed information on 51,785 individuals in the UK who were diagnosed with urolithiaisis and 517,267 matched individuals without urolithiasis.

Over a median period of 4.7 years, being diagnosed with urolithiasis was significantly linked with fractures, and the excess risk affected all skeletal sites. In males, there was an overall 10% greater risk in those with urolithiasis, and the risk was greatest in adolescence (55% higher). In women, there was a 17% to 52% higher risk of fracture from the third through seventh decades of life, with the highest risk in those aged 30 to 39 years.

“The significantly higher risk at certain ages in males and females has profound public health implications,” said Dr. Denburg. “Given that the median time from diagnosis of urolithiasis to fracture was a decade, we might be able to intervene during this interval to reduce the burden of future fracture.”

Study co-authors include Mary Leonard, MD, MSCE, Kevin Haynes, PharmD, MSCE, Shamir Tuchman, MD, MPH, Gregory Tasian, MD, MSc, Justine Shults, PhD, and Lawrence Copelovitch, MD.

The article, entitled “Risk of Fracture in Urolithiasis: A Population-Based Cohort Study using The Health Improvement Network,” appears online.