A McMaster University study says that hip and back fractures increase mortality rates in older adults.
The research, to be published August 4 in the online edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), has found that approximately 25 per cent of men and women who develop hip fractures and 16 per cent of people who develop spine factures will die over a five-year period.
The study was led by George Ioannidis, a health research methodologist in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, in collaboration with scientists from the schools of medicine and nursing at McMaster, as well as several universities across Canada.
Using data from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study, the researchers examined the relationship between new fractures and mortality over a 5-year period in more than 7,750 Canadians aged 50 years and older.
"Hip fractures may have long-lasting effects that result in eventual death by signaling or actually inducing a progressive decline in health," said Ioannidis.
"Our results also showed that vertebral fracture was an independent predictor of death," he added.
In addition, the researchers discovered that all types of bone breaks were more common among women than men, with the exception of rib fractures.
They also determined that fractures were associated with other negative consequences such as increased pain, immobility and reduced health-related quality of life.
"People should be aware that fractures are a serious problem in osteoporosis," Ioannidis said.
"They do not just reduce health-related quality of life, they actually cause death. So hip and spinal fractures need be taken very seriously, and prevention should be paramount in treating patients with osteoporosis," the expert added.
The study found factors such as smoking, physical activity and the presence of other diseases increased the risk of death, but so did lower educational levels.