Hip fractures in elderly people suffering from osteoporosis often prove to be fatal with around 40 per cent patients dying in the first year of injury.
"Around 40 per cent patients who suffer from hip fracture in old age eventually die in the first year of injury. It is a great socio-economic loss to the family, society and the nation in general. The incidence of femur neck fracture in India is 7.7 per cent of all fractures," said eminent arthroplasty surgeon KD Tripathi.
Tripathi, who was addressing a gathering of patients on the eve of World Osteoporosis Day, on Tuesday, said hip fracture was a common problem, both in rural as well as urban areas.
"One out of eight males and one out of three females in India suffer from osteoporosis. These people face a high risk of hip fracture."
"It is also estimated that the number of osteoporosis patients will increase to 36 million by 2013. In India, majority of patients suffer from this problem at the age of 50-60 years, in comparison to western countries, where osteoporosis usually occurs at about 70-80 years of age," he added.
Elaborating on the risk factors involved in hip fracture, Tripathi said osteoporosis with T-score below - 2.5 in bone densitometry is a very great risk factor for elderly population. T-score defines the level of bone density.
"The other risk factors are trauma, smoking, low body weight, muscle weakness, gait imbalance, poor eyesight and untidy and slippery floor in the house," he added.
Speaking on the need for prevention of hip fracture, Tripathi said elderly osteoporotic population should be taken care of by family members or other care providers.
"They should be provided full balanced diet with high protein and exercise programmes. The risk of the fracture may be reduced by number of dietary and pharmacological agents that decrease bone turnovers and reduce fracture incidences. Calcium with Vitamin D, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bisphosphonates, calcitonins, flourides and thiazides all have effect on bone mass and prevent osteoporosis," he added.
According to Tripathi, if at all hip fracture occurs, it should be taken as an emergency measure and these patients should be operated upon as early as possible, probably within 24 to 48 hrs.
These patients should be mobilised at the earliest. If possible these fractures should be treated with internal fixation, which can be done by minimal invasive approaches.
Where the fixation is not possible the broken hip can be replaced by hemiarthroplasty, bipolar replacement and total hip replacement, he further explained.