In older adults, hip fractures are usually caused by a
fall. Even a slight fall can sometimes cause a fracture in a weakened hipbone.
Children and young adults are more likely to break a hip because of a bike or
car accident or a sports injury.
Falls cause more
fractures—including hip fractures—as people age because, starting at about age
30, bone begins to be reabsorbed by the body faster than it is replaced. Over
time, it naturally gets thinner (less dense), weaker, and breaks more easily.
If bones thin a certain amount, you are said to have
osteoporosis. Both osteoporosis and hip fracture
affect women more often than men, because men have higher bone density than
women and because of the decrease in the hormone
estrogen in women after
menopause. Having lower levels of estrogen speeds up
bone loss and results in weakened bones. Lower levels of testosterone in men
can also speed up bone loss.
Although men are also at risk for hip
fracture as they age, women have lower bone density to begin with, more bone
loss after middle age, and live longer than men. As a result, most hip fractures occur in women.
medicines can also cause bone loss. These include:
things that increase the risk for hip fracture include:
Research also shows that if you have had a spine fracture or,
in men, a Colles fracture of the wrist, you have an increased
chance of hip fracture.2
CitationsRichards JB, et al. (2007). Effect of selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(2): 188–194.Haentjens P, et al. (2003). Colles fracture, spine
fracture, and subsequent risk of hip fracture in men and women: A
meta-analysis. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery,
May 10, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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