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The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Hospitalization Increases Fractures In Elders

A study of men and women ovA study of men and women over age 70 found two to three times more bone fractures occurred following a hospital admission compared to not being in a hospital. The risk of new fracture was greatest during the first year after hospitalization and increased with the number of times a patient was hospitalized. This included increased numbers of hip fracture, which leads to a fatality within the year in about 30% of people over 50.

Being in a hospital is often joked about as being unhealthy. It is also a reality. When people are sick, it is not the time to keep them sedentary, indoors, eating institutional food, and taking medicines that reduce bone density and increase pain syndromes. Lack of standing and activity quickly reduce bone density. It is a circular problem when people feel they must reduce activity to prevent falls and injury. What is needed is the right, carefully supervised, healthy movement to give the physical skills that prevent falls, the stiffness that results in more pain and lack of function, and reduction in bone density, balance, strength, and mobility crucial for basic health.

Study authors stated, "Because the risk of fracture is greatest soon after hospital discharge, assessment and interventions to reduce risk should be started during the hospital stay or shortly after discharge. Evaluations should include measurement of bone mineral density, assessment of the risk of falling and vision testing." According to the authors, appropriate treatment for these patients include calcium and vitamin D supplements; bisphosphonate drug treatment, such as alendronate (Fosamax) or risedronate (Actonel); vision correction if needed; and physical therapy, including walking programs and exercises to improve flexibility, strength and balance.



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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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