In older adults, hip fractures are usually caused by a
fall. Even a slight fall can sometimes cause a fracture in a weakened hipbone.
Children and young adults are more likely to break a hip because of a bike or
car accident or a sports injury.
Falls cause more
fractures-including hip fractures-as people age because, starting at about age
30, bone begins to be reabsorbed by the body faster than it is replaced. Over
time, it naturally gets thinner (less dense), weaker, and breaks more easily.
If bones thin a certain amount, you are said to have osteoporosis. Both osteoporosis and hip fracture
affect women more often than men, because men have higher bone density than
women and because of the decrease in the hormone estrogen in women after menopause. Having lower levels of estrogen speeds up
bone loss and results in weakened bones. Lower levels of testosterone in men
can also speed up bone loss.
Although men are also at risk for hip
fracture as they age, women have lower bone density to begin with, more bone
loss after middle age, and live longer than men. As a result, most hip fractures occur in women.
Some medicines are related to bone loss or to fractures. These include:
Antidepressant medicines called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).
things that increase the risk for hip fracture include:
Your family history (heredity). Being thin or
tall, or having family members who had fractures later in life increases your
Race. White and Asian people have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Black people have a lower risk.
Osteoporosis raises the risk of a fracture if you fall, so the risk of hip
fracture is also higher in whites and Asians.
Poor eating habits.
Eat a nutritious diet that includes adequate
amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Both are needed for building healthy,
Smoking. Smoking puts you at a higher risk for osteoporosis and
increases the rate of bone thinning after it starts.
alcohol. Don’t drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man, or 1
alcohol drink a day if you are a woman. Drinking more than this puts you at
higher risk for osteoporosis. Alcohol use also raises your risk of falling and
breaking a bone. See pictures of standard alcoholic drinks.
Not being active. Moderate amounts of
weight-bearing exercise, such as walking and dancing, can help keep bones
Drug interactions. Sometimes one medicine you
are taking changes the action of another medicine, or the drugs act together to
create unexpected side effects. These can include dizziness or blurred vision
that make falls more likely.
Research also shows that if you have had a spine fracture or,
in men, a Colles fracture of the wrist, you have an increased
chance of hip fracture.footnote 1