If you're over the age of 60, listen up - a new study shows that hip fractures can increase the risk of death.
The study had a sample size of nearly 10,000 women. And unlike prior studies, this one found that independent of underlying health conditions, breaking a hip put women at higher risk.
"It showed that women, ages 65 to 69 who broke a hip were 5 times more likely to die, than women of the same age who did not break a hip," says Bone Specialist Dr. Jennifer Loh
She adds, "Women in their 70's had double the risk of death after a hip fracture and women in their 80's had triple the risk of death after hip fractures."
Researchers hypothesized that immobility, depression, hospitalization and the surgery itself lead to complications that ultimately result in death.
The cause is a silent disease - osteoporosis makes bones abnormally fragile -- many don't even know they have it.
"This here is the osteoporodic bone you can see that there's very large spaces, and all of those cross links that give strength are much thinner and a lot of them are broken and this is what causes the bone to be more prone to fracture." says Dr. Loh. "So we suggest that women who are 65 and older talk to their doctor and see if they should be getting a bone density screening which is a very easy test."
Prevention is key in reducing your risk.
Dr. Loh says there are many ways people can keep their bones healthy.
1 - get enough Calcium and Vitamin D
2 - do weight bearing exercise
3 - avoid smoking or excessive alcohol
4 - for elderly patients, safety proof your home and make sure it's fall proof.
Dr. Loh says it's never too early to start. After all, we build bone primarily in childhood and especially in our teenage years.
"So the time to have a very healthy lifestyle to have a lot of exercise and calcium and avoid smoking is really when you're a teenager but that doesn't mean it's ever too late all of those things still help maintain healthy bone. So everyone should continue to do all those things even as adults," says Dr. Loh.
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