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What Causes Hip Fractures?

Most people associate hip fractures with a slip and fall. In this scenario, people injure the hip by slipping on something and landing on the body’s side. The harsh and sudden impact causes a fracture in the thighbone. Unfortunately, hip fractures lead to other complications, including death. After undergoing surgery, some people never fully recover. However, slip and falls aren’t the only reasons for a broken hip.

Contributing factors

Certain risk factors make people more susceptible to hip fractures. The factors are:

  • Medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Alcohol use
  • Age
  • Gender

Women are more susceptible to fractures because menopause interrupts estrogen production, the hormone responsible for bone development. Likewise, people with certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis or an overactive thyroid, are more likely to experience hip fractures. A doctor can help patients identify risk factors and create a plan to help minimize the occurrence of fractures. But if patients are vigilant, these issues can be prevented.

1. Undergo Screening

Scientists have created a test, called the bone mineral density exam, to determine if a patient has osteoporosis or will develop the disease in the future. To perform the test, doctors x-ray the patient to measure calcium levels. Doctors advise people over the age of 65 to get the exam, but patients with a family history of osteoporosis or chronic kidney disease are good candidates.

2. Strive for a healthier diet

Lack of calcium and vitamin D contribute to bone decay. The body needs these minerals to develop new bone and deficiencies of either mineral can lead to disease. One of the best ways to increase vitamin D production is to go outside. The body uses sunlight to stimulate vitamin D production and at least 15 minutes of contact does the trick. Patients should also eat foods rich in Vitamin D or calcium such as kale, broccoli, and salmon. But don’t forget potassium and protein! Both contribute to optimal bone health.

3. Exercise

Regular physical activity staves off a host of health problems, including hip fractures. High impact exercises increase bone density and muscle mass, preventing fractures. Jogging, stair climbing, and hiking are some high-impact activities that improve bone health. Low impact exercises with elliptical machines and treadmills also help.

4. Watch out for safety hazards

Although people cannot control the environment, monitoring the surroundings can help prevent major accidents. For instance, placing a no-slip bathmat in the shower can prevent nasty falls. People should also make a habit of removing debris from walkways. Simple actions can make a world of difference.

5. Take supplements

For patients that aren’t receiving enough nutrients from a diet, supplements can be a great alternative. Doctors recommend at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day for men and women under the age of 50. Supplements can be found at local health food stores and are easy to incorporate into a daily routine.

Tying it together

As always, consult a physician to learn more about preventing hip fractures and BMD testing. Preventing bone loss is the best way to avoid hip fracture and early screening for osteoporosis is typically recommended by physicians.