One-third of people who lived independently before their hip fracture will spend a year or more in a nursing home afterward. 40 percent of people with hip fractures are unable to walk independently after a year, and 60 percent can no longer take care of daily necessities, such as dressing.
The hip joint is one of the most stable joints in the body. But because it bears your body weight, it is more likely to develop arthritis because of the extra pressure. Pain in the hip may be caused by injury to muscles, tendons, or the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion and lubricate joints.
In 2007, 350,000 hip fractures occurred in the United States. For people over age 50, this instantaneous injury often divides life into distinct "before" and "after" phases. One-third of people who lived independently before their hip fracture will spend a year or more in a nursing home afterward. 40 percent of people with hip fractures are unable to walk independently after a year, and 60 percent can no longer take care of daily necessities, such as dressing.
Fortunately, experts are always learning more about the preventive measures you can take.
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One in three women and one in five men will have a fracture sometime after age 50.
Low bone density doubles or even triples the risk of hip fracture. This is a major problem because 56 percent of women and 18 percent of men age 50 and older have reduced bone mineral density, with 16 percent of women and 2 percent of men having low enough bone density to be classified as osteoporosis. Another 40% of women and 16% of men had osteopenia, a mild form of low bone mineral density.
Bone density testing is recommended for all women 65 years and older and for younger women with a higher than normal risk of fracture. Discuss your individual fracture risk and the need for bone density testing with your physician. In a Johns Hopkins University study, screening for bone density scan problems led to a 36 percent reduction in fracture risk. osteoporosis screening allows you and your doctor to make decisions about treatments to keep your bones strong and fracture-free.
Men may want to discuss osteoporosis screening with their doctors if they are over 70 or at risk for thinning bones due to factors such as long-term use of corticosteroid medications (e.g., prednisone).
Nine out of ten hip fractures are caused by falls. Exercises that maintain muscle strength, endurance and balance can reduce the risk of fractures from slips, trips and falls. In one study, women who did not exercise for a year had a higher risk of hip fracture, even if they did not have osteoporosis. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falls by 20 to 30 percent.
Women before age 50 and men before age 70 consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day, then women over age 50 and men over age 70 consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day. "You also need vitamin D to help absorb calcium. The current recommendation is 600 IU per day until age 70 and 800 IU per day after age 70. there's no doubt that this combination reduces the risk of fractures.
But don't stop there. Consume plenty of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables every day; in a 2013 study, Sellmeyer and colleagues found that this mineral had a positive effect on calcium metabolism. And don't skimp on protein, which seems to help maintain muscle mass (important for strength) and help build bone.
If you feel drowsy, dizzy, weak or off balance when you walk, consult your doctor for a medication check. Some prescription medications can cause these fall-inducing side effects. "And stay informed about vision exams and eyeglass prescriptions Keen vision can also help you avoid falls.
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