A few weeks ago, I met with a friend and former co-worker. I was telling her about wanting to create a service that would help my parent’s generation achieve and maintain independence as they age. That’s when she burst out that how hip fractures.
At first, I thought she had just had a bad personal experience with a relative, but then she told me it was the leading cause to accelerate mortality rates for the elderly!
My eyes popped at this, and I’ve since been researching the topic. What I found was so compelling I had to share it with you.
Hip fractures are usually caused by a fall or an injury to the side of the hip. 30% of people 65+ fall every year. Of these 10% result in fractures.1
Mortality rates are between 14-58% within a year following a hip fracture2
This is usually caused by the patient slipping into a “vicious cycle” of not regaining full mobility or independence, repeated falls and hospitalisation, and following cognitive decline from depressions.
40% of patients are unable to walk independently after
Most hip fractures require surgery, hospitalisation, and extended rehabilitation. Most people will continue to need assistance afterward for the rest of their lives. This can range from support from family and home health professionals to admittance to a nursing home.
Girl (you’ve got less) power (now) :anguished:
As many as 14% of all women break their hip at some point in their life.3 75% of all hip fractures are with women.
Women lose bone density at a faster rate than men do, in part because the drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause accelerates bone loss.
There are many more risk factors to consider
So keep reading as we get to that!
What is a hip fracture?
The name might be self-explanatory, but just in case - hip fractures are cracks or breaks that occur on the thigh bone.
hip fractures are cracks or breaks that occur on the thigh bone (femur) close to the hip joint.
A hip fracture doesn’t necessarily cause bruising or prevent you from standing or walking. The pain is the first indicator, as well as not being able to lift, move, rotate, or stand on your leg.
4 things that prevent hip fractures and enable you to stay independent as you age
As you might have guessed already, hip fractures become more and more common with age.
Here are the top four targetted preventative measures that will either help with your bone strength or reduce falls as you age.
1. Stay active and healthy
Tobacco and alcohol can interfere with the normal processes of bone building.
Muscle weakness, low blood pressure, bad balance are all things that lead to falls and can be prevented by regular weight-bearing exercises. Here is an article to get you motivated.
2. Ensure you’re getting the necessary nutrients
Other than exercising, supplementing your diet with calcium and vitamin D can help give your body the essential nutrients to reduce the effect of osteoporosis and enable bone building.4
The most common condition that results in hip fractures is osteoporosis. This causes the spaces between bones to grow larger, making them weaker, less flexible, and more prone to breaking.
3. Reduce risk factors for falls
Examine your home for risky areas - loose carpeting, the shower, stairwells, or if you have slippery floors by sinks - and consider making some adjustments.
This can be even minor improvements like installing high-wattage light bulbs, removing clutter or cables, using non-slip mats or using sturdy foot-wear while at home.
4. Be aware of the risk factors that apply to you, so you can act on them!
The rate of hip fractures increases substantially with the additional risk factors listed below. If you or anyone in your family falls into one or more of these, make sure you discuss preventative measures with your healthcare professional.
- Chronic medical conditions, particularly those that affect the brain and nervous system and increase the risk of falls
- Certain medications that weaken the bone when taken long term (those that that act on your central nervous system — think sleep medications, sedatives, and benzodiazepines)
- Nutritional problems that lead to a lack of calcium and vitamin D
- Unhealthy lifestyle including physical inactivity, and use of tobacco and alcohol
The future of aging is at home
And to make this possible, preventative wellness for seniors is critical.
Aside from being incredibly painful, a hip fracture can also be completely life-altering. It can leave you unable to live in the same way as before. With the restricted mobility that comes from the effects of osteoporosis and a hip fracture, many find they are soon unable to carry out daily tasks easily or even move about as they had done previously.
Mon Tonton - Long distance care(giv)ing
If you’re an expat and you want to help your loved ones continue to lead their lives independently sharing this article with them. Perhaps it can make a difference towards that.
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