Falls with Fracture – Who Knew?

Angie Szumlinski
|
April 23, 2024
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Interesting article in the Marcus Institute for Aging found that people who have had prior falls were at an increased risk for fractures and that MEN were slightly higher risk then women! Wow, that’s something new, anything I read previously indicated that women were higher risk for fractures due to hormonal changes as we age leading to bone density concerns.

What the researchers recommend is that a history of previous falls should be included in patients’ histories when using fracture risk assessment tools such as FRAX (Fracture Risk Assessment) tool to calculate a person’s likelihood of getting a fracture over the next decade. Key findings of the analysis include:

  • Increased fracture risk: individuals with a history of falls within the past year were found to have a significantly higher risk of any clinical fracture, osteoporotic fracture, major osteoporotic fracture, and hip fracture. One or more previous falls were significantly associated with an increased risk of death among women and men.
  • Sex Disparities: The association between previous falls and fracture risk was observed to vary by sex, with men exhibiting higher predictive values compared to women.
  • Independent Risk Factor: The increased fracture risk linked to previous falls was largely independent of bone mineral density, emphasizing the standalone significance of falls as a risk factor.

We all have fall assessment tools, but do you have a fracture risk assessment tool? Many centers assess every resident for their risk of falls and end up with almost every resident being at risk. Some centers say they just assume everyone is at risk, however, are we identifying the highest risk by using a fracture risk assessment? Think about it, our goal with fall management is to avoid significant injury, we can’t prevent every fall, sometimes we can’t prevent any of them! What if we used a fracture risk assessment to identify those at highest risk for significant injury and prioritized our efforts? Stay well and stay informed!


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