The rate of hip fractures increases substantially with age, due to:

  • Decreased bone density and muscle mass
  • Problems with vision and balance, which can cause you to fall

Other factors that can increase the risk of hip fracture include:

  • Your sex. About 70 percent of hip fractures occur in women. Women lose bone density at a faster rate than men do, in part because the drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause accelerates bone loss. However, men also can develop dangerously low levels of bone density.
  • Chronic medical conditions. Endocrine disorders, such as an overactive thyroid, can lead to fragile bones. Intestinal disorders, which may reduce your absorption of vitamin D and calcium, also can lead to weakened bone and hip fracture. Cognitive impairment also increases the risk of falling.
  • Certain medications. Cortisone medications, such as prednisone, can weaken bone if you take them long term. Certain drugs or certain combinations 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. Both can interfere with the normal processes of bone building and maintenance, resulting in bone loss.
March 11, 2015

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.