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Hip fractures in the elderly linked to greater risk of death

Hip fractures in the elderly linked to greater risk of death
25th January 2017

Elderly people who fracture their hip have been found to increase their risk of dying within a year nearly threefold, new research suggests. Problems in the wake of surgery, pneumonia and blood clots are among the issues, while the broken hip can result in increased frailty.

Nearly 65,000 people in Britain break their hip each year, which led to the study being carried out by University College London. It was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine and led to calls for quick diagnosis of osteoporosis, as the condition can easily lead onto broken bones.

The majority of broken hips in older people in the UK occur during a low-energy trauma. This means they are likely to fall from standing height, as opposed to being in an accident, such as a car crash. It is something that can set a relatively healthy elderly person in a downward spiral.

In the research, it was discovered that mean are less likely to break their hip than women, but when they do, more often pass away in the months that follow. Eight studies consisting of more than 122,000 people were analysed and it was found that people with broken hips were 2.78 times more likely to die.

Dr Michail Katsoulis, one of the lead authors of the study, said: “It is important to implement appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of hip fractures while more attention should be given to those older individuals that have already experienced a hip fracture in order to ensure better quality of life and survival in the elderly.”

While as time goes on after breaking a hip, the chance of dying decreases, it’s a slow process. It drops down to double the likelihood in the eight years following the accident and then 1.79 times after that. The biggest risk is the three to six months post hip break, however.

Fizz Thompson, clinical and operations director at the National Osteoporosis Society, told the Daily Mail: “This report highlights the devastating consequences of hip fractures and the fact that appropriate measures need to be implemented.”

Preventing falls in the first place is the best solution, ensuring the elderly can easily navigate their living space. This may also mean furnishing them with the tools they require, such as a walking frame, to keep them on their feet.