Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:46 AM EDT

Hip Fractures Are Deadly For Seniors

May 21, 2019 12:07 PM EDT

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Studies show that a hip fracture increases an older person's risk of death. It is reported that one in three adults aged 50 and above dies just within 12 months of suffering a hip fracture. Older adults have five to eight times higher risk of dying within the first three months of a hip fracture compared to older adults without a hip fracture. This increased risk of death remains for almost 10 years.

A hip fracture results in a loss of physical function, increased dependence, decreased social engagement and worse quality of life. A lot of people who have a hip fracture need to change their living conditions, such as relocating from their home to a residential facility.

The key risk factor is age, and hip fractures are more likely to occur in those aged 65 or older. They are a result of a fall or when the hip collides with a solid object. However, they can also occur when there has been little or no trauma, such as standing up.

Dementia is one of the most common factors that increase the risk of falling. Poor vision, frailty, trip hazards in the home and the use of a combination of medications can increase the likelihood of falls. Osteoporosis is also a significant risk factor for hip fractures.

The risk of death increases when the patient has an existing health condition. Death after a hip fracture may also be connected to additional complications of the fracture, such as internal bleeding, infections, stroke or heart failure.

Together with controlling post-surgery pain and symptoms, patients should receive functional training and therapeutic rehabilitation for the best chance of regaining mobility. Even if the patient chooses not to have surgery, they should still undergo rehabilitation. It is necessary to begin moving as quickly as possible to avoid any serious complications of being immobilized.

Therapeutic rehabilitation may include pool therapy, improving the range of motion, and strengthening and progressive resistance exercises. Functional training will include resistance and balance exercises as well as gait training.

Some study suggests beginning physical activity as soon as possible. It is best to be done post-surgery as it will reduce the likelihood of death. What is not clear is the type, intensity and the duration of physical activity that will give the best results.

Nutrition can also help older adults to recover faster. Studies show that poor nutrition at the time of the fracture can reduce their ability to walk unaided six months after the fracture, compared to those with good nutrition.

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