Increased risk of hip fracture among spouses, study says

13 Jan 2017

Husbands and wives of people who have suffered a hip fracture are at an increased risk of hip fractures themselves, according to a new study.

Researchers in Sweden looked at medical records for couples married for at least five years born between 1902 and 1942 and found hip fractures occurred in spouses of 4212 married couples.

The study said the findings were largely due to the fact that “individuals tend to marry those who are similar in terms of education level, religion and other socioeconomic factors.”

It suggested individuals will also tend to marry those of a similar height and weight who do the same level of physical activity and have similar habits such as smoking and drinking – all of which increase the risk of hip fracture.

Other factors which also contributed to the risk included they type of house the couple lived in and also the area, as elderly people in rural areas tend to have a lower risk for hip fracture than those living in cities.

Sarah Leyland, Osteoporosis Nurse Consultant at the National Osteoporosis Society said the study highlighted an interesting issue.

“This is an interesting finding. Hip fractures can be debilitating and life changing and anything which furthers our understanding of risk factors, however unusual, is a welcome development.

However  there are many well established risk factors that have been proven to be linked to poor bone strength, some of which you can do something about, and these are more important and useful to find out more about right now.”

The study has been published at the same time as a separate report looking at gender differences and risk factors for hip fracture published in the European Menopause Journal which looked at the effects of a number of factors including illiteracy, smoking and depression.

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