The older population has historically been at an increased risk of dying after suffering a hip fracture or other vertebra fracture. This is often associated with complications that can occur while the person is immobilized during the recovery process.
New findings have discovered that people ages 50 and older can have an increased risk of death of up to 25 percent after suffering other types of fractures. The study was conducted in Denmark and was reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
How dangerous are broken bones?
Depending on various factors, a broken bone is not typically a cause for concern. You may be in a cast for some time and have discomfort but then return to your day-to-day life. However, in the older population there a broken bone is a much more severe health issue. A more senior person who suffers from a broken bone may have an increased chance of death during the first year and can still be prevalent ten years after the injury.
Researchers found that during the year after a broken bone, women had a 20 percent higher risk of death, and men had a 33 percent higher risk of death after a hip injury. Femur and other pelvic fractures saw increases of 25 percent and 20 percent. On the other hand, Vertebral fractures increased the risk of death by 10 percent for both genders. Other fractures include:
- Upper arm bone, clavicle, rib: increase of five to 10 percent
- Lower leg break: three percent
Researchers are still working to find the link between fractures and increased mortality rates but have not yet found a concrete answer.
“While hip fractures are regarded as significant and recognized as causing increased mortality, non-hip fractures are often seen as not being very important. This study highlights the need for early intervention following any low-trauma fracture to minimize the wide treatment gap that is present internationally,” senior study author Jacqueline Center told Reuters Health in a prepared statement.
Protecting yourself from broken bones
Whether you are part of the elderly population or not, there are ways to prevent falls and broken bones.
- Exercise to improve balance and strength. Exercise keeps your muscles strong and reflexes sharp, which can lead to better coordination. Your bones will also be more robust through a regular exercise routine.
- Having the right shoes. Low-heeled shoes are known to offer support, especially when they have rubber soles. Wear shoes inside your home to decrease the chances of slipping and falling.
- Know your medications. Some medications may increase your chances of falling. Talk to your doctor about potential side effects.
- Fall-proof your home. Ensure any potential fall dangers are removed from your path throughout your home.
- Keep your home well-lit. Ensure your home has lighting in every area, and keep a flashlight near your bed should you need to get up in the middle of the night.
- Treat health conditions. Talk to your doctor about any health conditions that may affect your balance and coordination.
What to do if you break a bone
Taking precautions can go a long way in avoiding broken bones. However, several factors go into suffering broken bones that cannot be prevented. You should work to prevent fractures as much as possible, but when you do suffer a broken bone, there are some steps to keep in mind:
- Call 911
- Stop the bleeding
- Do not move
- Ice and elevate the limb
Did you or a loved one suffer from a broken bone? The Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. want to help. Please call 662-627-9641 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We operate offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, and Oxford.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.