Hip Fractures Among Older Adults
More than 95% of hip fractures among adults ages 65 and older are caused by falls (Grisso et al. 1991). These injuries can cause severe health problems and lead to reduced quality of life and premature death (Wolinsky et al. 1997; Hall et al. 2000).
How big is the problem?
In 2003, there were more than 309,500 hospital admissions for hip fractures (NCHS 2006).
From 1993 to 2003, the number of hip fracture hospitalizations increased 19%, from 261,000 to 309,500 (NCHS 2006).
However, after adjusting for the increasing age of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau 2006), the hip fracture rate decreased 14%, from 901 per 100,000 population in 1993 to 776 per 100,000 population in 2003 (NCHS 2006).
In 1990, researchers estimated that the number of hip fractures would exceed 500,000 by the year 2040 (Cummings et al. 1990).
What outcomes are linked to hip fractures?
As many as 20% of hip fracture patients die within a year of their injury (Leibson et al. 2002).
Most patients with hip fractures are hospitalized for about one week (Popovic 2001).
Up to 25% of adults who lived independently before their hip fracture have to stay in a nursing home for at least a year after their injury (Magaziner et al. 2000).
In 1991, Medicare costs for hip fractures were estimated to be $2.9 billion (CDC 1996).
Who is at risk?
Women sustain about 80% of all hip fractures (Stevens et al. 2000).
In 2003, 72% of hip fracture hospitalizations were among women (NCHS 2006).
Among both sexes, hip fracture rates increase exponentially with age (Samelson et al. 2002). People 85 and older are 10 to 15 times more likely to sustain hip fractures than are people ages 60 to 65 (Scott et al. 1990).
People with osteoporosis are more likely to sustain a hip fracture than those without this condition (Greenspan et al. 1994).
How can hip fractures be prevented?
Hip fractures can be prevented by preventing falls. Fall prevention strategies include:
Exercising regularly; exercise programs like Tai Chi that increase strength and balance are especially good.
Having medicines reviewed–both prescription and over-the counter–to reduce side effects and interactions.
Having yearly eye exams.
Reducing fall hazards in the home.
The most effective way to prevent fall-related injuries, including hip fractures, is to combine these strategies (RAND 2003).
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U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Projections Program, Population Division, Washington, D.C. (2003). [cited 2006 Aug]. Available from URL: www.census.gov/population/www/projections/popproj.html.
Wolinsky FD, Fitzgerald JF, Stump TE. The effect of hip fracture on mortality, hospitalization, and functional status: a prospective study. American Journal of Public Health 1997;87(3):398-403.
Page last modified: August 26, 2006