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24 / 10 / 2017
Hip Fracture
 
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Hip Fracture

 
SENIORS' HEALTH

Bones/Joints/Muscles

 

A hip fracture is a serious injury, particularly if you're older, and complications can be life-threatening. Fortunately, surgery to repair a hip fracture is usually very effective, although recovery often requires time and patience. Most people, even those older than age 80, make a good recovery from a hip fracture. Generally, the better your health and mobility, the better your chances for a complete recovery are. You can break your hip at any age, but 90 percent of hospitalizations for hip fractures are for people older than age 65. As you age, your bones become less dense as they slowly lose minerals. Gradual loss of density weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to a fracture.

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If you're a woman, you're two to three times more likely than a man is to experience a hip fracture. That's because women lose bone density at a greater rate than men do.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a hip fracture may include:

  • Severe pain in your hip or groin

  • Inability to put weight on your injured leg

  • Stiffness, bruising and swelling in and around your hip area

  • Shorter leg on the side of your injured hip

  • Turning inward or outward of your leg on the side of your injured hip

Causes

In older adults, a hip fracture is most often a result of a traumatic event, such as falling, and weak bones. In younger adults, major trauma to the hip, such as a sports injury or a car accident, may lead to a hip fracture.

Risk factors

A combination of factors may increase your risk of a hip fracture, including:

  • Age. The rate of hip fractures increases with age. As you age, your bone density decreases, your vision and sense of balance decline, and your reaction time slows. If you're inactive, your muscles tend to weaken as you age. All of these factors combined can increase your risk of a hip fracture.

  • Chronic medical conditions. Osteoporosis is one of the biggest risk factors for hip fracture. In osteoporosis, the structure of your bones becomes weaker because your bones don't contain as much calcium and other minerals. A weaker structure makes your bones more prone to a fracture, even with relatively minor trauma. Loss of bone strength tends to be greatest in your spine, lower forearms and upper thighbones (femurs), the site of hip fractures.

    • Other medical conditions may also lead to bone fragility either by slowing bone formation or speeding up bone loss. These include endocrine disorders, such as hypogonadism or type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes); gastrointestinal disorders, which may interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption; and rheumatoid disorders, which often lead to inactivity and loss of bone mass. Prolonged bed rest or immobility can also lead to bone loss.

    • Chronic conditions that affect your nervous system can increase your risk of falling, such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. People with decreased mental alertness, such as that caused by dementia or depression, are also at increased risk of falling.

  • Sex. Women lose bone density at a faster rate than men do. The drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause accelerates bone loss, increasing the risk of hip fractures as a woman moves beyond menopause. However, men also can develop dangerously low levels of bone density.

  • Heredity. Genetic factors influence bone size, bone mass and bone density. A family history of osteoporosis or fractures later in life is a strong predictor of low bone mass, although not necessarily of fractures themselves. A small-boned, slender frame may put you at increased risk for osteoporosis. Also, Caucasians and Asians have the highest risk of osteoporosis.

  • Nutrition. Lack of calcium and vitamin D in your diet when you're young lowers your peak bone mass and increases your risk of fracture later in life. Serious eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia can damage your skeleton by depriving your body of essential nutrients needed for bone building.

  • Tobacco and alcohol use. Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can interfere with the normal processes of bone building and remodeling, resulting in bone loss. These habits also interfere with the production of estrogen and testosterone, two hormones that contribute to bone mass. In addition, smokers tend to enter menopause earlier than nonsmokers do.

  • Medications. Certain medications can accelerate bone loss, thus increasing your risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture. Long-term use of corticosteroids may lower bone mass. Other medications that may contribute to bone loss or to calcium or vitamin D deficiencies if used for long periods of time include anticonvulsants, thyroid medications, and certain diuretics and blood thinners.

    • Some drugs may affect your balance and cause dizziness including certain blood pressure medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, cold and allergy medications, pain relievers and sleep medications.

  • Environmental hazards. Loose rugs, cluttered floors, poor lighting, exposed electrical or telephone cords, and stairs with no handrails may increase your risk of stumbling and falling.

Hip fracture > next > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

 
 
 
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Disclaimer
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.

In no event will the DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.
 
 
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Dr. Eddy Bettermann M.D.

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Email: dreddy@dreddyclinic.com

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