A new study has found that stroke survivors are at a two fold risk of fractures - especially of breaking a hip or a thigh bone - than people who haven't had a stroke.
And the risk is even greater for younger patients, women and those with recent strokes.
"Our findings imply that it is important to conduct fracture risk assessment immediately after a patient is hospitalized for stroke," said Dr Frank de Vries, senior author of the study and assistant professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
During the study, researchers analysed 6,763 stroke patients and found that the sufferers were most vulnerable for hip/femur fracture during the first three months after a stroke.
Among women, fracture risk was slightly higher than double.
The youngest stroke survivors (70 years or younger) were also at the highest risk.
"Hip or femur fracture after stroke declined with increasing age," said de Vries noting that patients age 70 or older are more likely to have other risk factors for hip fracture.
"It's likely, therefore, that the overall contribution of stroke to hip fracture risk declines with age," he added.
The researchers said that the findings of highest risk of fracture in the first months after stroke confirm and reinforce other trials that showed "substantially higher" rates of bone mineral density loss within the first six months after stroke.
"Fall prevention programs, bone mineral density measurements and medicines to strengthen bones may be necessary to minimize hip fractures in the elderly both during and after stroke rehabilitation," de Vries said.
The study appears in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.