It's Healthy Hips Week, April 8-14th

April 14, 2018

This week is Healthy Hips Week, 8-14th April which is dedicated to raising awareness of hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) or 'click hips'. But it is also a timely reminder of the effects of osteoporosis when it comes to hip health.

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Osteoporosis is one of the key contributors to fractures or broken hips with the ageing population. By 2022, an estimated 6.2 million Australians aged 50 and over will have osteoporosis. In a Garvan Institute study, it showed that osteoporotic fractures increase a person’s risk of dying, even after relatively minor fractures if that person is elderly. With hip fractures, there is double the risk of death for women, three times the risk for men.

  • Women over the age of 75, experience a 40% increase in mortality after a minor fracture, such as a wrist fracture. That risk increases up two-fold for vertebral fractures and two and a half-fold for hip fractures.
  • Men over the age of 75, the mortality is 80% higher than the general population for minor fractures, about two-fold higher for vertebral fractures, and close to three-fold for hip fractures.
  • Men account for 30 per cent of all fractures linked to osteoporosis and osteopenia, conditions that were traditionally considered to be ‘women's disease’.

An Osteoporosis Australia report last year found that the number of hip fractures is expected to rise from 22,000 to more than 30,000 by 2022. And approximately 50 per cent of hip fracture patients admitted into hospital had already sustained a low-trauma fracture. But only 20 per cent had been offered osteoporosis treatment. It also found that only 16 per cent of hip fracture patients in Australia receive osteoporosis treatment compared to 60 per cent in the United Kingdom.

Bone Fracture Risk Calculator

To combat the increasing rate of hip fracture mortality, the Garvan Institute set up a Bone Fracture Risk Calculator tool in 2009 to help doctors & health professionals estimate fracture risks in their patients. The calculator is only intended for use by GP’s and other health professionals. If you’re concerned about fracture risk, it’s important to consult your doctor.

Numerous studies have shown that by improving all aspects of care, including access to a multidisciplinary team, appropriate treatment, timely surgery and rehabilitation and follow-up are integral to cutting the risk of loss of mobility and death, especially in older patients.

The recommended window for surgery is within 48 hours after a fracture. Therefore, the sooner treatment is given even for a minor fracture the better the long-term prognosis.

Know your Bones

Osteoporosis Australia and the Garvan Institute launched a public online tool called 'Know Your Bones'. This tool is designed to help people recognise their own bone fracture risk by assessing age, gender, weight, bone mineral density, lifestyle factors and the patient’s history of fractures and falls. The tool will provide people with a simple summary of their fracture risk which they can discuss further with their GP.

“The facts speak for themselves. They tell us how important it is to take all fractures very seriously, particularly in the elderly.” – Professor Jacqueline Center, Garvan Institute.

So, it is imperative to ensure all falls, no matter how minor or insignificant the fall may seem, to be assessed by a GP or at a hospital straight away to determine if a fracture has occurred, and what treatment needs to be undertaken.

At Mayflower, we encourage you to discuss a fall management plan with your older family members and to use the Know your bones tool. This will help older family members to manage their fracture risks and be mindful of the dangers from falls. And keep those hips healthy!