There are many elderly hospitalized for hip features every year. Unfortunately, this type of injury is difficult for a person over 65 to recover from and often times can be fatal. There are numerous reasons why this type of fracture can be deadly for an older individual. Below are a few of the reasons for this disastrous outcome.
Length of Recovery
As a person ages, the recovery time from an injury increases. For example, the recovery time from a hip fracture in the elderly can range from weeks to months, depending on health and pre-existing conditions. The location of the injury also plays an essential role in the successful recovery. The hip is a large joint, and injuries can be suffered in various places, such as in the joint or upper and lower femur.
Patients who are independent and mobile before the injury can usually recover from a rehabilitation bed located in the hospital where the surgery takes place and have a better chance at a full recovery. For those bed-bound or immobile before the break, the recovery process is much more time-consuming. These patients usually have to be admitted into a skilled nursing facility or Assisted Living Apartments for rehabilitation.
Muscle Mass and Bone Density
As a person ages, bone density and muscle mass will decrease. The decrease in bone density is referred to as osteoporosis and is the leading cause of many bone breaks in the elderly. This diagnosis is the most common in women over sixty-five. Osteoporosis will cause bones to become fragile and not allow new bone to be created once bone tissue is damaged. Any bone break can occur with falls, but osteoporosis breaks are the most prevalent with hip fractures. The elderly are also more prone to falls because of decreased muscle mass that affects balance and general mobility. These falls often lead to hip fractures.
Many medical conditions can put a person at risk for a fracture and decrease the probability of recovery. These conditions are most often found in the elderly population and include the following:
- Malnutrition. Poor diet is an issue among the elderly population. Lack of nutrition can impede the healing process, decreasing the chance of a good outcome from a fracture.
- Lack of activity. Exercise builds bone density and muscle mass. When a person cannot get adequate exercise or take part in activities, the body may not be able to recover.
- Medications. Many medications can cause dizziness that will cause a patient to fall, resulting in a bone fracture. There are also medications, such as steroids, that cause a decrease in bone density.
- Menopause. As previously discussed, osteoporosis fractures are the most common in women. This can be a side effect of menopause. Menopause will cause a loss of bone density resulting in a higher risk of bone features.
- Dementia. Elderly patients suffering from the effects of dementia will often struggle with the recovery phase of a hip fracture. Many times, they are more prone to falls and cannot complete the necessary recovery regimen because of neurological barriers.
It is imperative that, if a fall occurs, the person immediately seeks medical attention to ensure that a hip feature has not happened. The fast break detection improves the potential for a positive outcome.