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One In Four Aussies Who Fracture Their Hip Die Within A Year

Supplier: HealthSaver
03 December, 2018

A 10 Daily news report by Ali Donaldson 10 News First Senior Reporter Thursday 29 Nov 2018 12.24 PM

Every three seconds around the world, someone fractures their hip.

For one in four Australian patients -- it will literally be a killer, proving deadly within just a year.

Less than half of those who survive will regain their previous level of mobility.

Experts in Sydney today warned of a growing epidemic, dubbed the "fragility fracture tsunami."

With the global population ageing, they're projecting a 310 percent increase in men suffering hip fractures, and for women -- a 240 percent increase by the year 2050.

Carole David has broken her sternum twice, her lumbar and thoracic spine, her ribs, her wrist and her foot.

At the age of 60 she had to learn to walk again.

"My doctor, when I turned 50, suggested I had to go for all of those tests, I just laughed and said no way, I'm fit, I'm healthy, I've always gone to [the] gym, even run my own gym," Ms David said.

A few years ago she was gardening and a lizard jumped on her shoulder. She jumped and from then on suffered terrible abdominal pain.

"It turned out to be referred pain from my spine, I had actually fractured and compressed a number of vertebrae in my spine.

"So simple, I didn't fall, I didn't do anything at all."

Eventually she followed her doctor's advice and discovered she had Osteopenia -- the start of Osteoporosis -- or low bone density.

Knowing what she was dealing with changed her life.

"Initially it was very much about maintaining my muscle strength doing resistance work to build my bone strength.”

And she's kept her sense of humour.

"I've actually lost almost nine centimetres in height -- I laughingly say my low rise jeans are now high rise, but it really is quite serious to lose that amount of height."

Professor Jacqui Close says simple strategies can help protect bone health -- exercise, diet and getting enough sunlight exposure or taking Vitaimin D and calcium supplements.

Once a fracture occurs there are also critical steps to follow.

"Making sure someone is out of bed the day after surgery, ensuring we prevent complications such as pneumonia, pressure sores, clots in the leg breaking off into the lungs," Professor Close said.

"We really want to people to have good pain management and early rehabilition with a view to getting people home and independent again.

"And of course secondary fracture prevention is absolutely critical because once you have one fracture you are considerably more likely to have a second one."

Professor Close is part of the newly formed Asia Pacific Fragility Fracture Alliance - tackling the issue in the world's most populated and ageing region.

"Ageing is something we should celebrate but with that comes responsibility of delivering people healthily into old age.

"In Australia 25 percent of people with hip fracture are usually dead in a year.

"The average age of a hip fracture in this country is 84, but it is serious at any age and it isn't about age it is about the function of the individual."

View report and watch video here