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Women 65-69 at Highest Risk for Death after Hip Fracture

It was recently discovered that women between the ages of 65 and 69 who break a hip are four times more likely to die within a year of the fracture than women who hadn’t broken a hip. Those women continue to have an elevated risk even 10 years after the break.

“I thought that women who were the youngest and the healthiest would be able to bounce back the quickest,” said Erin LeBlanc, who authored the research. LeBlanc is an epidemiologist and endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

Between 70 and 79 years old, the risk is twice as high as women without broken hips for up to a year, after which point there seems to be no heightened risk of death. Over the age of 80, women in general were equally as likely to die regardless of hip breaks-with the exception of women who reported themselves to be in good health. Those women were at about a three times higher risk of death from hip fracture.

The study analyzed data from over 5,500 women (mostly white) over the years between 1986 and 2005. Among the women, 1,116 experienced a broken hip during the study. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, there are about 1.6 million hip fractures around the world per year, and over half of these occur in Europe and the Americas. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that about half of women above the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.

Erin LeBlanc recommends that women concerned about or at risk for osteoporosis should take vitamin D and calcium supplements, exercise regularly, and reduce or eliminate consumption of tobacco and alcohol. They should also be screened for the bone-thinning disease.

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