A combination of factors may increase your risk of a hip fracture, including:
Mar. 22, 2012
- Age. The rate of hip fractures increases substantially with age. As you age, your bone density and muscle mass both decrease. Older age may also bring vision and balance problems, along with slower reaction time to avoid falling when you feel unsteady. If you're inactive, your muscles tend to weaken even more as you age. All of these factors combined can increase your risk of a hip fracture.
- Your sex. Women lose bone density at a faster rate than men do. The drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause accelerates bone loss, increasing the risk of hip fractures. However, men also can develop dangerously low levels of bone density.
- Chronic medical conditions. Osteoporosis is the most powerful risk factor for hip fracture, but other medical conditions may lead to fragile bones. These include endocrine disorders, such as an overactive thyroid, and intestinal disorders, which may reduce your absorption of vitamin D and calcium.
- Certain medications. Cortisone medications, such as prednisone, can weaken bone if you take them long term. In some cases, certain drugs or the combination of medications can make you dizzy and more prone to falling.
- Nutritional problems. Lack of calcium and vitamin D in your diet when you're young lowers your peak bone mass and increases your risk of fracture later in life. Serious eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, can damage your skeleton by depriving your body of essential nutrients needed for bone building.
- Physical inactivity. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, help strengthen bones and muscles, making falls and fractures less likely. If you don't regularly participate in weight-bearing exercise, you may have lower bone density and weaker bones.
- Tobacco and alcohol use. Smoking and drinking alcohol can interfere with the normal processes of bone building and remodeling, resulting in bone loss.
- Miller RR, et al. Hip fractures. Halter JB, et al. In: Hazzard's Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=540. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Fiechtl JF, et al. Femur and hip. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Burroughs KE, et al. Hip fractures in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Hip fractures among older adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adulthipfx.html. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Hip fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00392. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Lewiecki EM. Prevention of osteoporosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Morrison RS, et al. Medical consultation for patients with hip fracture. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Rosen HN. Bisphosphonates in the management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
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