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Bone and Joint Wellness

5 Facts About Fragility Fractures

Photo: Courtesy of Kristaps Solims

Are you at risk for low-energy bone fractures? Over 2 million older adults experience these injuries every year. Here’s five facts you need to know.

1. They’re a warning sign

Fragility fractures result from a fall from a standing height or less, or a break that occurs with little to no obvious trauma. These low-energy fractures are often the “sentinel event” a patient experiences indicating the first sign of poor bone health and osteoporosis.

2. They’re surprisingly common

At over 2 million fragility fractures each year in the United States, more older adults are affected by fragility fractures than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined. Statistically, 1 in 2 women and up to 1 in 4 men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.

3. They’re more dangerous than you think

Fragility fractures can significantly affect the quality of life and can even be deadly; as high as 1 in 4 people who sustain a hip fracture die within 1 year. Others experience loss of independence and 1 in 5 may require long-term nursing home care, yet 65-80 percent of fracture patients do not receive recommended osteoporosis care following a fragility fracture. Adequate care of patients with fragility fractures can reduce the risk of future fractures by up to 50 percent.

4. Diet makes a difference

Lifestyle changes including a healthy diet with calcium and vitamin D, weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises, practicing fall prevention and avoiding smoking and high alcohol consumption can help slow the loss of bone mass and help prevent fractures.

5. Your doctor can help with prevention

Your healthcare professional can educate you on the appropriate intake of Calcium and Vitamin D, as well as evaluate your bone mass with a bone mineral density test (BMD) as necessary, When appropriately indicted your healthcare professional can prescribe medicines to help reduce bone loss, or grow new bone, and ultimately reduce your fracture risk.

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