Question:My grandma just turned 81-years old. I'm worried about her breaking a hip. That's how my Grandpa died. Is there a certain age when fractures are more likely to occur?
According to a large study of patients with hip fractures, the average age was 82.4 years. Patients ranged in age from 65 to 118 years old. More than three-fourths of the hip fractures were in women.
Besides age, the biggest risk factor for hip fracture is a condition called osteoporosis. Bone loss called demineralizationis common with osteoporosis. Bones weakened by osteoporosis are more likely to fracture.
Other risk factors include the use of some medications and poor health. Conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, and congestive heart failure put a patient at increased risk of falls and fractures. Chronic asthma, chronic emphysema, and diabetes are other health issues that increase the risk of fracture.
There are many ways to prevent falls. Drugs to improve bone strength are now available. Talk to your grandmother about your concerns. You may want to go with her to her next doctor's appointment.
Adopting a team approach to this potential problem is best. Involve a physical therapistas well. The therapist can test your grandmother's balance, strength, and coordination. A home program of exercise can be designed to help prevent falls. The therapist can also help your grandmother modify her home to remove any obstacles or hazards that can contribute to falls.Kevin J. McGuire, MD, MSCE, et al. The 2004 Marshall Urist Award: Delays Until Surgery after Hip Fracture Increases Mortality. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. November 2004. Vol. 428. Pp. 294-301.
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