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Breaking a hip

Senior Health > Breaking a hip

Breaking or fracturing hips is a common problem among the elderly. Many people who break their hips die within a year of the accident, making it very important to stop potential problems before they happen by making sure senior citizens are at a low risk for breaking a hip. The first step is to safeguard the home. Remove rugs or other potential hazards. If rugs are a necessity, get rubber mats to put under them to stop their falls. Put adhesive patches in the bathtub to help with getting in and out of the tub. If an elderly friend or family member is particularly fragile, consider installing a handrail in the bathroom to assist with movement.

Even before beginning these precautionary steps, however, a senior citizen can reduce his or her risk of breaking a hip by getting enough calcium. Osteoporosis is present in most of the cases of hip fractures or breaks, meaning the disease indirectly leads to the death of seniors. One of the reasons for the high death rate attached with hip fractures is because the ensuing treatment can be painful and lengthy. Someone who breaks his or her hip typically will need hospitalization so that doctors may examine the hip and make sure the damage is limited to the pelvic region. Then, doctors will need to repair the broken bone as they would with any other bone.

The fragility of the hip and elderly patients, however, frequently means this repair is difficult and painful. It is not uncommon for physicians to be unable to deal with the fracture adequately, leaving the senior with a permanent limp or one leg slightly shorter than the other. In this situation, the ensuing months and years are painful as the patient must come to terms with the difference in limbs. In a worst-case scenario, the senior will need a hip replacement. These surgeries require extensive therapy afterward and increase the pain suffered. Meanwhile, the months of bed rest can lead to an accumulation of fluids and pneumonia or other disease.

Falls by walking are the most common reason for hip fractures, accounting for close to half of all problems. It is imperative, then, for seniors to use walkers or canes at the first thought they may need one and to make sure their pathways are cleared of objects strewn about. Another common reason for the fractures is a fall from bed. To avoid these problems, seniors may want to consider having a table or other sturdy object to help them from bed. In the case of hip fractures, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Senior Health > Breaking a hip