Older people with broken bones may face a higher risk of death, and that risk could stay elevated for years, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Hip fractures are known to increase the mortality risk among older people. Non-hip fractures contribute to more than two-thirds of all fragility fractures and can include fractures of the femur, pelvis, clavicle, or lower leg, according to a media release from The Endocrine Society.

“A fracture is the starting point for much wider health issues that persist long after the fracture has healed and can ultimately result in earlier death,” says Jacqueline Center, MBBS, PhD, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.

“We tracked the increased risk of death for fractures in different bones and found that they vary. The heightened risk can last for over a decade after a hip fracture, and for most other fractures (apart from distal or minor fractures), the increased risk is for about 5 years.”

This nationwide, registry-based follow-up study included all individuals in Denmark over the age of 50 who first experienced fragility fractures in 2001 and were followed up to 10 years for their mortality risk.

In the year after breaking a hip, men faced a 33% higher risk of death and women had a 20% higher risk. For femur or pelvic fractures, the 1-year excess mortality was between 20% and 25%. A significant risk of death was still observed 10 years after a person broke a hip, and approximately 5 years following non-hip fractures.

“Our findings emphasize just how crucial early intervention is,” Center states in the release. “We need to understand the risk of breaking a bone before the fracture happens and treat that individual accordingly. While intervention after the first fracture is critical, we also need to diagnose those at risk of breaking bones before these major health impacts have occurred.”

[Source(s): The Endocrine Society, Science Daily]