In older adults, hip fractures are usually caused by a fall. Even a slight fall can sometimes cause a fracture in a weakened hipbone. Children and young adults are more likely to break a hip because of a bike or car accident or a sports injury.
Falls cause more fractures—including hip fractures—as people age because, starting at about age 30, bone begins to be reabsorbed by the body faster than it is replaced. Over time, it naturally gets thinner (less dense), weaker, and breaks more easily. If bones thin a certain amount, you are said to have osteoporosis. Both osteoporosis and hip fracture affect women more often than men, because men have higher bone density than women and because of the decrease in the hormone estrogen in women after menopause. Having lower levels of estrogen speeds up bone loss and results in weakened bones. Lower levels of testosterone in men can also speed up bone loss.
Although men are also at risk for hip fracture as they age, women have lower bone density to begin with, more bone loss after middle age, and live longer than men. As a result, most hip fractures occur in women.
Some medicines can also cause bone loss. These include:
Other things that increase the risk for hip fracture include:
- Richards JB, et al. (2007). Effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(2): 188–194.
- Haentjens P, et al. (2003). Colles fracture, spine fracture, and subsequent risk of hip fracture in men and women: A meta-analysis. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 85-A(10): 1936–1943.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Kenneth J. Koval, MD, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma|
|Last Revised||May 10, 2011|
Last Revised: May 10, 2011
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