Fractures shorten life expectancy.

A study of 30,000 women and men in Denmark, led by Jack Cush, M.D, found that a fracture, any fracture, increased that patient’s 10-year mortality risk—but that the risk of death was highest in the first year after the fracture.

Cush is the director of clinical rheumatology at the Baylor Research Institute and a professor of medicine and rheumatology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

The study, which followed the subjects for at least 10 years indicated excess mortality following all proximal and lower leg fractures, most of which occurred in the first year, with the risk declining thereafter.

Hip fractures had the highest excess mortality. It was 33% higher in men and 20% higher in women at 1-year post-fracture, according to a report in Med Page Today.

The mortality risk was not limited to hip fractures, the researchers said. They noted that it had been previously thought that mortality risk following fracture was primarily related to age, or immobilization complications such as pneumonia or thromboses that was associated with the surgery or hospitalization.

The authors concluded that a wide variety of fragility fractures may contribute to long-term excess mortality.

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