Older women who suffer a hip fracture face increased risk of dying within a year than their healthy counterparts, finds study.
Women 70-79 face double the risk of dying within a year if they break their hip compared to women who do not, and women 80 and older who break a hip face about the triple risk of dying, it said.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
"This study is a wake-up call that the first year after a hip fracture is a critical time for all elderly women, but especially for younger women, ages 65-69, who face a much higher death rate compared to their peers," said lead author Erin LeBlanc.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation has said there are about 1.6 million hip fractures per year, with 51 percent occurring in Europe and the Americas and most of the remainder in the Western Pacific region and Southeast Asia.
About half of all women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, according to the US-based National Osteoporosis Foundation.
The NIH-funded study was based on data from nearly 10,000 women in four US cities who enrolled from 1986-1988 in a research project to track osteoporotic bone fractures.
Over the course of 20 years, 1,116 of the women enrolled suffered hip fractures. Those women were matched by age to a comparison group of 4,464 women who did not break a hip.
"Among women who broke a hip, more than half of the short-term deaths occurred within three months after the fracture and nearly three-quarters occurred within six months," added the study.
Those figures suggest that the hip fracture itself plays a major role in the deterioration of a woman's health, according to co-author Teresa Hillier, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.
"We also found women are at the highest risk of dying within the first three months after hip fracture, which leads us to hypothesize that hospitalization, surgery and immobility lead to other complications that ultimately result in their death."
The top three causes of death for all women in the study were heart disease, cancer and stroke.