-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who break a hip
are more likely than others to die within a year because of the
fracture, not an underlying health condition, a new study
"Our study suggests that it is the hip fracture, and not just poor health, that puts these women at higher risk of dying," said study author Dr. Teresa Hillier, a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.
"We also found women are at the highest risk of dying within the first three months after hip fracture, which leads us to hypothesize that hospitalization, surgery and immobility lead to other complications that ultimately result in their death," she wrote in a Kaiser Permanente news release.
As part of a larger ongoing study involving nearly 10,000 women
aged 65 and older, researchers followed 1,116 women who suffered
hip fractures and compared them to nearly 4,500 similar women who
didn't break a hip.
The study, published online Sept. 26 in the
Archives of Internal Medicine, found that women between the ages of 65 and 69 who break a hip are five times more likely to die within a year than their peers who didn't suffer a fracture.
Women in their 70s had double the risk of dying within a year
after breaking a hip, the researchers found. Women aged 80 and
older had the same risk of dying within the year regardless of
whether or not they broke a hip. For women in their 80s who were in
excellent health, however, a hip fracture nearly tripled their risk
of dying within a year.
Among women who broke a hip, more than half of the short-term
deaths occurred within three months after the broken hip, and
nearly 75 percent occurred within six months, the investigators
Experts at the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommend that
all women over the age of 65 and those who may also be at greater
risk for osteoporosis (thinning or weakening of the bone) have a
bone density scan to determine if they are at greater risk for
fractures. Low body weight, smoking or long-term steroid use are
associated with increased risk of osteoporosis.
The experts also offered the following tips to help prevent hip
"This study is a wake-up call that the first year after a hip fracture is a critical time for all elderly women, but especially for younger women, ages 65 to 69, who face a much higher death rate compared to their peers," added study lead author Dr. Erin S. LeBlanc, an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, in the news release.
"We need to do more to prevent hip fractures from occurring, and we need to study how best to care for women after fracture to prevent these deaths," LeBlanc said.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
hip fractures and other hip injuries.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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