Fracture risk 'a worry for patients'
Published on 19 June 2013 11:00 AM
Older patients are increasingly making positive lifestyle changes in order to lower their risk of suffering bone fractures, according to new research.
Half of all women over the age of 50, and 1 in 5 men over 50 will have a fracture after falling from standing height or lower - and those who are aware of this fact are trying to ensure it doesn't happen to them.
All of the participants in the study, which looked at patients over 65 who took part in the Osteoporosis Exemplary Care Program at the St Michael's Hospital Fracture Clinic in Canada, engaged in a number of daily behavioural strategies to manage their fracture risk.
Most were concerned about being careful, such as using handrails or wearing proper shoes, but many also said they were considering or taking prescribed medication, were exercising more, eating a healthy diet and taking supplements or using walking aids or devices.
Having a fracture doubles risk of having another
Having one such fracture doubles a person's risk of having another. Dr Joanna Sale, a researcher at the hospital and lead author of the study, said her research was aimed at finding ways to prevent repeat fractures.
Research participants were interviewed about their perceived fracture risk, recommendations they received about their bone health, results of bone density tests and any lifestyle or behavioural changes they made since their last fracture.
All but one participant appeared to understand they had low bone mass and were at risk of a future fracture, but many were confused about the significance of bone density.
Dr Sale believes the results of her study are in part due to the Osteoporosis Exemplary Care Program at St Michael's that includes a coordinator who educates and follows up with patients.
Previous research in bone health has focused on medications or found that people make negative lifestyle changes such as reducing housework or leisure activities because they are afraid of falling.
Age UK's Falls Awareness Week
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, commented: 'The impact of a fall can be devastating and the scale of the issue is a real concern, especially as we know that prevention is so much better than cure.
'Age UK's Falls Awareness Week highlights this important issue and provides a host of local community events so that older people can find out about helping to prevent falls.'
Copyright Press Association 2013