Hip fractures decline among older Australians, more so for women than men

The incidence of hip fractures among older Australians declined consistently between 1997-98 and 2006-07, but more so for women than men, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, The problem of osteoporotic hip fracture in Australia, shows that over the ten year period, the incidence rate for osteoporotic hip fracture decreased by 14% for men and by 20% for women.

'The fact that the incidence of hip fractures decreased more slowly among males may indicate that men could benefit from increased attention to prevention of underlying risk factors,' said report co-author Tracy Dixon.

'While the overall incidence rate of osteoporotic hip fractures is declining, the actual number of cases is still on the rise due to a growing and ageing population,' she said.

There were about 16,500 osteoporotic hip fractures among Australians aged 40 years or over in 2006-07.

'This means more than 40 Australians broke their hip every day in 2006-07. Most of these people were 65 years or older, and more than half were 85 years or older. Almost three-quarters were women,' Ms Dixon said.

Hip fracture is a serious injury that can lead to disability, reduced quality of life, loss of independence and premature death.

Virtually all people who break their hip will be admitted to hospital and most will have some kind of surgery.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to be hospitalised for an osteoporotic hip fracture. They were also, on average, much younger at the time of their hip fracture.

'Osteoporosis is a major risk factor in hip fractures among older Australians,' she said.

Osteoporosis makes the bones fragile and consequently, people with osteoporosis have a great risk of fracture following minimal trauma such as falling off a chair.

'Osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures can be prevented by making lifestyle changes and by taking action to reduce the risk of falls,' Ms Dixon said.


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