Why hip fractures affect women three times more often than men

Image: NHS

Hip fractures can have a huge impact on everyday life. But did you know they affect women three times more often than men?

Hip fractures can make day-to-day life very difficult and may have permanent consequences for mobility. Sometimes fractures are small enough to heal on their own, but larger fractures may need to be stabilised via surgery.

Hip fractures affect three times as many women as men because they lose bone density faster than men. The menopause reduces oestrogen levels, which accelerates the loss of bone mass.

Factors that increase the risk of hip fractures

Diseases

Osteoporosis is the disease that is most likely to lead to a hip fracture. The bones become so fragile that a simple blow or sudden movement can break them.

There are also other diseases that affect bone strength, such as certain disorders of the endocrine system (e.g. hyperthyroidism), as well as certain diseases of the intestine that affect the absorption of vitamin D and calcium.

Medications

Certain medicines, such as cortisone, directly affect the bones. If you are prescribed them, remember to watch out for falls and blows. We are also at greater risk if the side effects of certain medicines can affect our balance or make us dizzy (sedatives, sleeping pills, etc.).

Lack of nutrients

Vitamin D and calcium are essential for good bone health. We get this vitamin mostly from sunlight and it helps us to absorb calcium.

Sedentary lifestyle

A lack of physical activity weakens bones and muscles, causing us to have more difficulty holding ourselves up without strain.

Smoking and excessive drinking

Alcohol and smoking both impair bone regeneration and proper bone maintenance, which leads bone mass to degrade more rapidly.

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Written by

Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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