Reducing Your Fracture Risk

The following is just a brief overview of simple steps you and your relatives should take to reduce future fractures.

Over 90% of all hip fractures are due to slip and fall accidents. Usually, the fall is not severe, but the results may be. Thus, it is important to reduce your risks now to prevent a devastating event in the future. Some simple methods to decrease your chance of a fall include:

  • Removing or fixing all loose carpeting including throw rugs.
  • Keeping a flashlight next to your bed or using well light hallways for those late night potty breaks.
  • Use a cordless phone to avoid dangerous cords and eliminate the rushed trips to the phone.
  • Always wear rubber sole shoes even when you are in the house. No more stocking feet.
  • Place the most commonly used items at waist level. This avoids bending over or using a dangerous chair to stand on.
  • Consider using a cane when you are outside to help feel the depth of curbs and steps. If you don't like how you look with a cane. you are going to hate the way you look with a walker!
  • Review your medications with a pharmacist or your doctor to identify medications which may cause dizziness and loss of balance. In addition, certain medications weaken your bone. Once you have identified these medications you may want to discuss alternatives with your physician.
  • Consider some simple balance exercises that we can provide for you.

Increase your activity level

Gentle weight bearing exercises such as walking and easy weight lifting are excellent exercises to build the strength of bones. Your bones live by the rule, "use me or lose me!"

Make sure you are taking the proper amounts of calcium and vitamin D

These will not speed the healing of your fracture, but they will help prevent a fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that post-menopausal females consume at least 1,200 mg of Calcium Carbonate (e.g., Tums) or 800 mg of Calcium Citrate (e.g., Citra-cal or Os-Cal) per day. It is also recommend that you take 800 IU of Vitamin D per day. We can provide you with some more nutritional material on how to obtain these amounts through a healthy diet.

Stop smoking!

If you smoke. Bad news, this is your last day of smoking. If you were hoping for the motivation to stop, here are some facts. Your chances of fracture are significantly increased if you smoke. Furthermore, smoking will significantly lengthen the time it takes for the fracture to heal. Thus, you lose twice. If you need information on smoking cessation, we will be more than happy to provide it.

If you have not yet been tested for osteoporosis, you should schedule a test right away. Osteoporosis is the disease which causes your bones to become brittle and significantly increases your risk for a fracture. Over 90% of hip fractures occur in people with osteoporosis and over 75% of the people with this disease are never treated. To find out if you have osteoporosis, ask your doctor or surgeon to determine if you should be tested. If you are women, and you had a fracture after the age of 45, you should qualify. If you do have osteoporosis, you can be treated with medication and the other modalities to significantly reduce your risk of a fracture by over 50%. Another reason to be tested is that it can prevent a fracture in your loved ones. If you haveosteoporosis, your daughter also has an increased risk of having osteoporosis. So get tested and not only prevent a fracture, but a fracture in someone you care about. If you would like any further information about testing and treatment for osteoporosis, we would be happy to provide you with this at our office.

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