Weak Bones Hurt Us All In Many Ways
- “Broken bones due to osteoporosis are very painful at any age. Each year 1.5 million older people in this country suffer fractures because their bones have become weak. For older people, weak bones can be deadly.”
- “If you are elderly, a broken hip makes you up to four times more likely to die within three months.”
- “If you survive, the injury often causes your health to spiral downward. One in five people with a hip fracture ends up in a nursing home within a year.”
- “Many others become isolated, depressed, or frightened to leave home because they fear they will fall.”
- “The cost of weak bones to Americans, their families, and our country is huge. The medical expense for treating broken bones from osteoporosis is as high as $18 billion each year.”
- “The cost of care for these patients and the work that is lost adds billions more.”
- “$18 billion is a stack of dollar bills 1,119 miles high, or farther than the distance from New York to St. Louis, Missouri.”
- “One in five people with a hip fracture ends up in a nursing home within a year.”
There are many problems from this.
Certainly it is very expensive, and the costs are often paid through the ever-higher taxes workers pay into the Medicare system.
Worse than that is the pain and suffering that results.
Vertebral fractures often are not very painful, but fractures of the hip are both painful and disabling.
Bed-rest is needed to heal a broken hip. The weeks a person spends off their feet while the fracture heals causes additional loss of bone.
This makes a person even more at risk for another fracture once they are on their feet again.
And, while a person is healing in bed, they are unable to care for themselves.
They cannot cook their own meals, or even walk to the kitchen.
Independence is lost, and many people become depressed because they cannot do even simple things they were able to do easily before the fracture.
After a hip fracture, a person must have help in all areas of normal living for many weeks, often many months.
Complications from the fracture all too often result in death.
So osteoporosis costs all of us money, it creates a significant loss of independence, and in some cases people die.
Prevention of a hip fracture is simple compared with trying to return to normal after a hip fracture.