Who's at Risk for Fractures?

Who's at Risk for Fractures?

A slip down the stairs, a trip off a curb, or any kind of hard blow, compression, or force can break your bones, which means everyone is at risk to some degree. But certain factors increase your risk and make you more susceptible to sustaining a fracture in situations where others may walk away with their bones intact.

Dr. Bryan King and our team of experts at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute specialize in diagnosing and treating all kinds of musculoskeletal problems, including fractures. But we would much rather you avoid them altogether. 

Aside from being careful and avoiding accidents when you can, education is the key to keeping your bones strong and healthy. That starts with knowing whether you’re at high risk for fractures. If you belong to any of the following groups, come see us to find out how to mitigate your risks and avoid broken bones.

Women

Bone fractures plague more women than men. Even women with strong, healthy bones are still more susceptible to fractures than their male counterparts because women’s bones are smaller, thinner, and less dense.

Women also face a predictable hormonal change, menopause, that decreases their production of estrogen and weakens their bones. Studies show that about half of all women over the age of 50 will experience at least one broken bone.

Diabetics

As if you didn’t have enough to keep you busy with managing your diabetes, you may have to deal with the risk of fractures as well. If you have Type 1 diabetes, and it was diagnosed when you were a child, your bones may not have developed the mass needed to withstand fractures throughout your life.

If you have Type 2 diabetes, there’s an indirect link to fractures as some of the common symptoms and simultaneous conditions, such as nerve damage, obesity, and poor eyesight, can increase your chances of falling.

People with rheumatoid arthritis

Like all autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the healthy tissues in your body, namely your joints and bones. What’s more, a common treatment for the pain, prednisone, can contribute to further bone loss.

Prednisone isn’t the only steroid that can result in bone loss. When used frequently, corticosteroid injections that are used to treat inflammation can also compromise your bone density by hindering calcium absorption.

Smokers

You already know that smoking is bad for your health in many ways, but you can add risk of fractures to the long list. Studies have shown that smoking:

And if you do break a bone, smoking interferes with the healing process.

Heavy drinkers

Your bone mass maxes out around the age of 35, and then it starts to decline. The strength and density of your adult bones depend primarily on their early development. Research shows that excessive alcohol consumption — particularly during adolescence and the early 20s — can significantly affect your bones and put you at risk for osteoporosis (low bone mass). 

Past fractures

If you’ve sustained a fracture once, you’re considered at risk for future fractures as well — that goes for broken hips, wrists, or spines. But the tricky part is that you may have a fracture and not even realize it. 

If your bones are compromised, even low-impact trauma can cause a crack, even if you don’t remember a specific event that may have caused it. 

What to do if you’re at risk for bone fractures

The best way to approach your risk for fractures depends heavily on your age, weight, and overall health. Dr. King examines you thoroughly and discusses all relevant factors before suggesting a treatment plan. 

You may need to make a few lifestyle adjustments that could include curbing your alcohol consumption and smoking habits. It may also include prescription medication to help increase your bone density.

If you have a broken bone right now, Dr. King treats the fracture so it can heal properly and serve you well in the future. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to prevent fractures. Schedule an appointment with us today for a thorough assessment of your risk for fractures and a practical plan to help you avoid disaster. 

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