Hip fractures are one of the most common injuries the elderly sustain each year, affecting as many as 300,000 older adults annually. Because of how frequently they occur, many people do not take them seriously.
Yet, they should, as hip fractures can drastically increase a person’s risk of death. It is important that elderly adults and their loved ones understand why hip fractures are associated with high mortality rates and what risk factors increase a person’s risk of dying shortly after sustaining one.
One-third of elderly adults die within one year of sustaining a hip fracture
According to The Conversation, one in three elderly adults die within one year of sustaining a hip fracture. For many older adults, their risk of dying within three months of a hip fracture increases by five to eight times compared to those without a hip fracture. This heightened risk of death remains for nearly 10 years post-injury.
The significantly reduced life expectancy of persons who sustain hip fractures in older age has a lot to do with the often-rapid regression of their overall health post-injury. For many individuals, hip fractures result in loss of physical function, decreased social life, increased dependence and a lower quality of life. Other significant and unexpected life changes — such as the need to relocate from a family home into an assisted living facility — also contributes to a shorter life expectancy.
Certain risk factors increase risk of death
In addition to the trauma directly associated with a hip fracture and the requisite surgery, there are certain risk factors that can drastically increase a person’s risk for early death. For instance, according to CNN, hip fracture injuries are directly associated with other health complications, such as internal bleeding, infection, stroke and heart failure. One report shows that hip fracture patients live with a doubled risk of dying from stroke, heart disease and pneumonia for at least 10 years post-injury compared with non-hip fracture patients.
The bottom line is a hip fracture is not just another broken bone. An elderly person’s risk of dying within a year of sustaining a hip fracture is great, which is why victims and loved ones should not take these injuries lightly. If a person does sustain a hip fracture because of another person’s or party’s negligence, he or she may benefit from the counsel of an experienced attorney.