Prevention of Hip Fractures in Elderly Persons with Osteoporosis

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved hip protector garments to help in preventing hip fractures in elderly people with osteoporosis. There are several hip protector garment brands now available in the market such as Hip saver and Safe hip. Hip protector garments are said to be helpful in preventing hip fractures for selected patients who are in nursing homes. However, the effectiveness of hip protector garments against hip fractures is said to be a matter of controversy.

A study done which involves:

  • 37 nursing homes randomly assigned to having residents wear a 1-sided hip protector on the left or right hip
  • 1,042 residents from the 37 nursing homes with an average age of 85
  • 795 of which were women, who consented and adhered to the hip protector use.
  • The use of the protector is for a two-week run-in period.
  • Participating nursing homes are from Boston, Massachusetts, St Louis, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland
  • From October 2002 to October 2004
  • Mean duration of participation for nursing home residents was 7.8 months

According to the results of the study they were unable to detect a protective effect on the risks of hip fracture. This is despite good adherence to protocol.

See:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/298/4/413
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/324/7334/375

What is Osteoporosis?

  • Osteoporosis is a condition wherein there is increased susceptibility to fracture due to fragile bones.
  • It weakens the bones and increases fracture risks.
  • Bone density decreases by age 35.
  • Women are more likely to have osteoporosis. Women’s bone density decreases even more rapidly after menopause.
  • The key risk factors for osteoporosis include: family health history and genetic factors, lack of exercise, lack of calcium and vitamin D, personal history of fracture as an adult, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and low body weight.
  • Keep in mind that osteoporosis has no symptoms until bone fractures occur, so it is best to have regular check-ups, especially for people aged 35 and above.
  • Osteoporosis diagnosis can be suggested by X-rays. Doctors can confirm this by using tests to measure bone density.
  • Treatment for osteoporosis includes prescription medications, proper and adequate exercise, calcium and vitamin D.
  • In treating and/or preventing risks of osteoporosis it is important that you quit smoking and the stop use of alcohol.