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For seniors, having a partner will help cut the risk of hip fractures

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NEW YORK – Research from Spain confirms that the senior women are three times more likely than their male peers to break a hip, but also the risk factors differ for men and women.

Illiteracy and depression increases the risk of fracture for senior women, while smoking and disability increase the risk for the senior men.

Dementia does not increase the risk of hip fractures, but the marriage or having a partner does reduce the risk for men and women, say the authors.

Each year more than 300,000 Americans 65 years and older in the hospital for a hip fracture, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three of the four hip fractures occurs in women.

The study, published in Maturitas, was led by Elena Lobo of the Department of Preventive Medicine and public Health at the University of Zaragoza in Spain.

Lobo and colleagues analyzed medical and psychiatric histories for 4,803 adults in Zaragoza over the age of 55 years, including the number of hip fractures.

The participants were 73 years old, on average. In the course of 16 years, approximately 8 percent of the women broke a hip, compared with less than 3 percent of the men.

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Among the women in the study is not able to read, increasing the risk of hip fracture by about 50 percent and is diagnosed with depression at an increased risk by 44 percent.

For the men is smoking a doubling of the risk of a hip fracture and is turned off tripled risk.

“It is well documented that smoking is harmful for the health of the bone,” Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

“In addition, the most important in older age – smoking reduces the calorie intake,” she added. The U.S. National Institutes of Health warns that being underweight is a risk factor for poor bone health.

Bischoff-Ferrari, who is the chair of Geriatrics and Aging Research Department of the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland, said disability as a risk factor is logical.

“Disability increases the risk of falls and falling is the main risk factor for hip fractures,” said Bischoff-Ferrari, who was not involved in the new study. “Disability has a direct effect on bone and muscle health as a disability reduces the mobility – and therefore, the loss of bone and muscle mass is the result – the increase of the risk of falls and hip fractures.”

Men who were connected were half as likely to suffer a hip fracture and women who were married or lived with someone of a 30 percent less chance of breaking a hip.

Bischoff-Ferrari said this finding also makes sense because seniors who live with a partner are less likely to be malnourished or depressed and more likely to support with any disability.

“All of these risk factors are associated with an increased risk of falling and sustaining a hip fracture,” she said.

Bischoff-Ferrari said: it is not clear why the study did not capture dementia as a risk factor with the earlier findings have demonstrated that the cognitive impairment is increasing the risk of falls and fractures.

“One explanation could be that the correlation of risk factors, for example, we know that physical and cognitive disorders are closely connected with each other. The authors had both risk factors in their model, which may have led to the missing signal for dementia,” she said.

She has some advice for reducing the risk of hip fractures.

“It is well documented that the clearing of the apartment of seniors in the fall hazards, such as loose rugs, to be effective, such as improving the lighting and the handles to hold in the bathroom,” Bischoff-Ferrari said.

Bischoff-Ferrari said: it is also important to ensure that older adults consuming sufficient number of calories. Their diet should focus on the calcium-and protein-rich foods to the prevention of bone and muscle mass loss.

Bischoff-Ferrari added that the exercise for example, walking 30 minutes per day has been shown to reduce the risk of a hip fracture.

“Last but not least, a vitamin D supplement of 800 International Units per day is shown to correct vitamin D deficiency and reduce falls and hip fractures up to 30 percent,” she said.

The authors of the study did not respond to a request for comment.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2j5c9l1 Maturitas, online December 28, 2016.

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