While several different injuries are common in the United States, hip fractures are near the top of the list. In fact, more than 300,000 adults over 65 are hospitalized for hip fractures every single year. And as we get older, this health problem becomes more prevalent.
Hip fractures are typically caused by an injury or bone brittleness, which can happen with certain conditions or as a side effect of some medications. Luckily, there are some useful tips to help prevent hip fractures in seniors.
Let’s discuss what you need to know about senior hip fractures, including how to prevent this troubling health issue.
Why are hip fractures a serious problem for elderly patients?
Having healthy hips are important at any age, but they’re even more essential as we get older. As thousands of people end up in the hospital every year due to hip fractures, these problems usually lead to hip surgery. After surgery wraps up, gaining back your independence can be challenging.
Now, why are hip fractures in seniors so common? Here are some reasons why:
Other Medical Conditions
Unfortunately, many different conditions can lead to a hip fracture or slow down the recovery period from hip surgery. While these medical problems can happen at any age, take a look at the conditions associated with hip fractures in seniors:
- Dementia: Dementia patients often struggle following the proper recovery plan after surgery. These patients are also more prone to falling.
- Diabetes: For those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the reduction of bone density can lead to serious hip problems.
- Malnutrition: Strong bones result from eating a nutritious diet. When someone has poor health that includes a diet low in nutrients, this can lead to slower healing and weaker bones.
- Inactivity: As we age, it’s more important than ever to stay active. Moving around and exercising helps to increase circulation, strengthen bones, and reduce the chance of falling. The more we sit down and limit mobility, the weaker our bones and muscles will become, which can lead to hip complications.
Weaker Bones & Muscles
As we get older, our bone density and muscle mass start to decline. This can sometimes lead to osteoporosis, which is a disease that causes brittle bones. Additionally, new bone isn’t produced quickly enough as the older bone tissue disappears, which leads to further complications. This is why hip fractures associated with osteoporosis are so common. Unfortunately, any type of bone fracture can happen easily in these patients.
Low muscle mass is another factor to think about. As our muscles help us stay balanced and in shape, mobility can be an issue when our muscle mass declines. This greatly increases the risk of falling and causing injuries. The lower your mobility, the more at risk you are for a hip fracture.
Lengthy Recovery Period
Hip fractures in seniors can also mean a longer recovery time. While these conditions are often associated with other health concerns, it can be a harder and more challenging recovery period. The average recovery time for a hip replacement is around four to six months.
The recovery period also depends on the type of injury suffered. If it’s a more complicated hip fracture, the recovery time could be much longer. It’s important to speak with your doctor about the recovery process for your specific situation.
Hip Fractures in Seniors: Prevention Tips
Luckily, there are some ways you can help to prevent hip complications and even hip fractures. Ultimately, it involves living a healthier lifestyle. Once these preventative measures are followed, you can greatly lower the chance of hip complications.
Be sure to follow these preventative tips:
Eat a Healthy Diet
Dieting is one of the easiest ways to prevent hip fractures in seniors. While it’s important to eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables, look for foods high in vitamin D and calcium.
To keep your bones strong, we recommended getting on a weight-lifting regimen. Even if it’s low weight, these exercises can promote bone strength. Balancing exercises also help to strengthen your core.
Receive Eye Exams
Since unaddressed eye or vision problems can often result in falling, it’s essential to have your eyes checked at least once a year.
Reduce Fall Hazards
The safer the space around your home, the lower the chance of falling and experiencing a broken hip. That said, try to remove any trip hazards or dangerous areas.
Take Things Slowly
Let’s face it—you probably can’t move like you used to. As your mobility declines, be sure to take things slowly. Walk around your home carefully to prevent hip issues, and consider using a cane or walking device to stay balanced.
Staying healthy and maintaining your independence is the goal for most seniors. But when you’re ready for an assisted living community, Vista Springs is here with a helping hand. Contact us today to learn more about our welcoming communities.