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Aging The Hard Way With Osteoporosis And A Broken Hip
Living a long healthy life to a ripe old age is one of those clichéd, sentimental ideas that often differs significantly from what reality has in store for us. Though the term "Golden Years" is sometimes used to describe life after retirement, these years are also about directly experiencing the effects of aging. While retirement can be great, even the most optimistic among us will occasionally worry about getting ill.

Specifically, we might worry about heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer's or various types of cancer. Whether we worry about ourselves or an aging family member, however, we often overlook more common conditions that can also make life very difficult. In particular, hip fractures are worthy of our attention because experiencing one can put a significant dent in the ability of seniors to maintain a good quality of life. In many cases, it can be deadly.

Hip fractures affect 300,000 Americans over the age of 65 each year. In the UK, Canada, and Australia, the numbers are 60,000, 24,000 and 16,000 respectively. More than 90% of these broken hips are the result of falls. However, the reason that the hipbone will break in the first place is often because of Osteoporosis.

For those who are unfamiliar, osteoporosis is a condition in which the density of the bone decreases and microscopic structure of the bone is altered with the end result being increased bone brittleness. In men, 80% of hip fractures are associated with Osteoporosis. However, Osteoporosis is roughly 4 times more common in women than it is in men.

It is no surprise then that hip fractures are 3 times more frequent in women than they are in men.

In terms of overall frequency, hip fractures occur more often than breast cancer in women, but get far less attention. Even in men where the rate of hip fractures is much lower, the risks are still higher than the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Overall, these fractures are the second most common reason that seniors are hospitalized. Yet, the risks of developing hip fractures are not well known by the public.

In research conducted by YouGov and the Social Issues Research Centre, only 8% of women under 30 knew that Osteoporosis was a significant risk associated with aging. Similarly, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that only 43% of postmenopausal women with diagnosed Osteoporosis knew that they were at greater risk of fractures than other women.

Worse still is that less than 1 in 10 women who suffer a fracture will be informed about other risks such as hip fractures despite being potentially at risk of Osteoporosis. This means than many are at much higher risk of such fractures than they need be.

At this point, a person could reasonably ask how a fractured hip and cancer could possibly be compared. The reason is that recovery from a broken hip is not at all straightforward. Roughly 25 to 30% of women who suffer a hip fracture will die within one year of the injury. []This accounts for more deaths than does breast cancer[]. For men, the risk of dying from the condition within the same time period is twice as high as it is for women.

What makes hip fractures most dangerous are the embolisms or blockages in the veins or arteries that can occur following surgery to fix a broken hip. These blockages are often caused by blood clots that break off and flow to locations such as the heart, brain or lungs. Such blockages can cause severe injury or even death.

At the same, surgeries in the elderly generally carry greater risk because of other existing conditions. Based on research from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, it is now understood that moderate severity preexisting conditions increase the risks of dying following hip surgery by more than 3 times.

Even if a patient is fortunate enough to avoid this major risk, secondary risks also exist. Pressure sores from lack of movement as well as [[link=/health_blog/pneumonia-the-unwelcome-hospital-visitor]]hospital-acquired pneumonia[[/link]], work together to increase the risk of death by 70% for those with a broken hip. Quite clearly, surviving the hip fracture involves patients dodging a number of high-risk problems.

For the fortunate, in spite of surviving the fracture and the complications, the risks of disability are also high. A study from the University of Kansas found that 20% of women who suffered a hip fracture were permanently disabled. Other research from the University of Washington discovered that more than half of those who suffer a fracture would permanently require a cane or walker. In the majority of cases, patients who experience a hip fracture will no longer be independent and will require home care after they recover.

While worrying about our health in old age is neither productive nor enjoyable, being aware of the real dangers and taking precautions is the best way to increase the odds that we can enjoy our "Golden Years". Getting a bone mineral density test may be a good idea to be diagnosed in advance so that steps can be taken to prevent a broken hip or breaks in other fragile old bones. This is especially true if you have older relatives who have suffered broken bones or Osteoporosis.

Future articles will cover just which risks each of us might face and steps to prevent being one of the unlucky suffering from a broken hip. If you have experienced Osteoporosis, feel free to share your experiences in the [[link=/health_forum/topics]]health forums[[/link]].

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I caution people to be very wary of purchasing a reverse osmosis machine. RO Water is called "Dead Water" by surgeons and doctors in Japan. Japan is significantly ranked "No 1" in the World in Health and Longevity. Minerals are necessary to maintain good Health, and life itself. If minerals are not in your drinking water, your body will scavenge them from your bones and teeth. This is why so many people today in the US have mineral deficient and weak bones (osteoporosis) that break easily, leading to broken or fractured hips. "Roughly 25 to 30% of women who suffer a hip fracture will die within one year of the injury. This accounts for more deaths than does breast cancer. For men, the risk of dying from the condition within the same time period is twice as high as it is for women."

Ed Johnson, Esq.
San Antonio, TX
It's though to age and osteoporosis is something hard to deal with, but we need to adjust our behavior to our age. Just recently my mother needed to do a hip replacement surgery because of this same issue.

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