Why Is a Hip Fracture So Dangerous?

Smiling senior woman hugging young nurse

A hip fracture may sound like a minor injury, but it can have a major impact on your health and well-being. Why is a hip fracture so dangerous, and how can you avoid one?

Why Is a Hip Fracture So Dangerous?

When you’re younger, slipping on the ice or missing a stair isn’t a big deal. However, the older you get, the more likely an unexpected fall is to lead to a serious injury. In fact, falling is the number one cause of injuries for those over the age of 65. One of the most dangerous but common injuries seniors experience due to falling is a hip fracture. But why is a hip fracture so dangerous, and what can you do about it?

Hip Fractures: Easy to Get, Hard to Heal

You’re probably already aware that a hip fracture is a notoriously difficult injury for a senior to recover from. Seniors who suffer hip fractures often have to deal with a variety of long-term side effects, including blood clots and other problems that can become life-threatening if they can’t be effectively treated. But why is this?

For one thing, seniors are more likely to be at risk for serious hip fractures than other population groups. Many seniors struggle with conditions like diabetes or osteoporosis, which makes a serious hip fracture more likely and makes healing from the fracture more complicated. Seniors are also more likely to have balance issues, and they have a higher fall risk in general. These factors mean that seniors suffer from hip fractures more easily and experience a more difficult recovery when compared to other age groups.

In addition, hip fracture recovery is serious business. It almost always requires surgery, and that surgery introduces its own complications. A senior who has a hip fracture can count on being immobilized for a number of weeks or even months as they recover, and can experience a loss of independence or social interaction as a result. A sedentary recovery lifestyle can also lead to other health issues that can make recovery even harder.

Long story short, there’s a reason that hip fractures are notoriously difficult injuries. So, what can you do to keep yourself safe?

Avoiding Hip Fractures

Let’s dig into the good news. Did you know that you can lower your risk of a hip fracture by 61 percent by making a few simple changes? Here’s what the experts at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recommend for seniors who are trying to avoid hip fractures:

  • Be aware of your risk. According to the statistics, one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will experience a hip fracture. It’s scary to think about, but acknowledging it can happen may help you plan to prevent it.
  • Talk to your doctor about your fall risk. They’ll be able to walk you through issues like medication side effects and balance issues and help you find solutions to those problems that work for you.
  • Don’t neglect your physical health. Speaking of fall risk, did you know that a regular exercise routine can cut your fall risk almost in half? You should also ask your doctor to screen you for osteoporosis, and take calcium supplements if your doctor recommends them. The better care you take care of your body now, the better your prognosis will likely be if something happens.
  • If you suspect you have a hip fracture, don’t panic, and don’t hide the injury. Doctors recommend getting treatment for a fractured hip within 48 hours of the injury for the best outcome possible. If you are feeling a sharp pain in your hip that is limiting your ability to walk, especially after a fall, seek medical attention immediately.

Be proactive in your health journey now so that you can reduce your risk of experiencing a hip fracture in the future.

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