Hip Fractures Explained

A hip fracture can be a life threatening injury due to its severe complication. A hip fracture is more likely to occur in people of an older age because the bones tend to weaken over time and age (this is also known as osteoporosis). There are also many other factors that would increase the risk for a hip fracture include poor vision, multiple medications, and balance problems. Those who have a hip fracture tend to need a surgical repair or hip replacement, followed by extensive physical therapy to maintain bone density and avoid future falls.

Some symptoms of a hip fracture include severe pain in the hip and groin, the inability to move after a fall, the inability to put weight on the leg and injured hip, a shorter leg on the side of the injured hip, stiffness, bruising, and/or swelling of the hip, and the turning outward of the leg.

A hip fracture can be caused by a severe impact (such as a car crash). These severe impacts can cause a hip fracture in anybody, regardless of age. However, in the elderly, the most common cause of a hip fracture is a fall from standing height. Those with extremely weak bones, a hip fracture may happen from merely standing and twisting the leg. The increased risk of a hip fracture that comes with old age is because of decreased muscle mass and bone density, and problems with vision and balance. There are also many other factors that increases the risk of a hip fracture as well. Women are more likely to experience hip fractures because women lose bone density quicker than men.

This is due to the decrease of estrogen levels associated with menopause.70 percent of those with a hip fracture are women. Other chronic conditions can increase the risk for a hip fracture as well. Endocrine disorders can lead to weak bones. Intestinal disorders can also weaken the bones as well due to the decreased absorption of vitamin D and calcium.

Those with cognitive impairment increases the risk for a fall as well.

There are certain medications such as cortisone medications, if taken for a long period of time, that can weaken the bone. Furthermore, if paired with certain medications are combined with each other, there is a likelihood of experiencing dizziness, which can lead to a fall and hip fracture. Individuals with nutritional problems such as low levels of vitamin D and calcium can have low bone mass. This can increase the risk of a hip fracture. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa deprives the body of the proper nutrients for bone health. Exercise and physical activity strengthens your muscles and bones, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. Those who do not exercise, tend to have a lower bone density and weaker bones. Extensive use of tobacco and alcohol can interfere with bone maintenance and growth as well.

If you have experienced a hip fracture, there are certain complications that may impact the longevity and quality of your life.

Approximately 50% of those with a hip fracture are unable to regain the ability to live independently. Furthermore, if the hip fracture is severe and keeps you immobile for a long period of time, there is an increased risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, bedsores, and decrease of muscle mass and weaker bones (which increases the chances for a second fall and fracture). There are many ways to prevent a hip fracture such as getting an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D, regularly exercising, avoiding excessive drinking and smoking, regularly having an eye exam, being aware of the side effects of medications, using a walker or cane if needed, and standing up slowly.

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