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Hip fractures in elderly- How to prevent them

Hip Fractures in Indian Seniors – What You Need to Know

Hip fractures among Indians are more closely associated with seniors, than their younger counterparts, due to various age-related ailments. The most important underlying factor of hip fractures is osteoporosis that causes weak bones and makes the body susceptible to fall related injuries. According to a 2010 India Today report, India took the second place in Asia when it came to hip fractures – with 4.4 lakh people suffering from it every year, and there were about 26 million osteoporosis patients in the country. The major percentage of these figures involved senior citizens.

Medical conditions like diabetes, fluctuating blood pressure, nerve disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, weak and ailing eyes, as well as certain medication that causes drowsiness can make an older adult vulnerable to hip fractures – by contributing to higher chances of falling. Hip fractures among older patients also have implications other than the agonizing pain.

Socio-Economic Burden

Hip fractures can translate to a high socio-economic burden for senior citizens. According to a report in India Times, a majority of the elderly in the country have no Mediclaim or just a minimal insurance cover. Hip fractures are, therefore, a costly affair for seniors because 99 percent of such cases require surgical treatment. In addition, the cost of treating associated age-related health afflictions like liver or kidney disorders, or high blood pressure increases the total cost of treatment.

High Mortality Rate

Hip fractures contribute to morbidity and mortality among seniors. The chances of survival diminish rapidly if a senior patient with hip injury is not treated fast enough. If the elderly are bedridden for more than two days then there are higher chances of incurring pneumonia, bed sores and increasing weaknesses that may endanger life.

Keeping in mind the extreme effects associated with hip injuries for seniors, it is not only necessary to know the symptoms of a hip fracture but also be aware how to lower the risk of falls – to avoid injuring the hip in the first place.

·         Older adults should keep a night light on to see well, and also wear their spectacles when moving around.

·         A senior person should sit in bed for a minute and move their legs before stepping down from the bed.

·         The passage to the bathroom should be kept clear of obstacles like rugs or small seating arrangements etc. to avoid tripping.

·         The bathroom floor should be dried before getting into bed.

·         If someone has trouble balancing, they should use a walking stick or walker.

·         Elderly people should wear shoes and slippers that have a strong grip and are non-slippery.

These simple tips can go a long way in preventing a senior citizen from falling and getting a hip fracture.

This article was contributed by free lance writer Ms. Jess Walter

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