Elderly women are at higher risk of acquiring a fragility fracture than men, yet men are more likely to die from their injuries, researchers reported at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in San Diego this week.
Women are disproportionately affected by fragility fractures due to the prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis in post-menopausal women, but men over the age of 65 experience bone loss at the same rate as women.
The new study is based on the analysis of Medicare data in which medical records from 1,622,666 patients (87% female, 13% male) 65 years old and older were reviewed. The patients were diagnosed with osteoporosis and between 2005 and 2009, and they were treated for a fragility fracture of the ankle, distal radius, hip, and proximal humerus or vertebral compression fractures.
Women were five times more likely to sustain an initial fragility fracture as compared to men. Men were slightly more likely to experience a subsequent fracture within three years of the initial fracture and their one-year mortality rates were higher than rates of women for all fracture types, except for ankle fractures (these subsequent fractures were associated with similar mortality rates for men and women — 8.1% for males, 8.4% for females).
“These findings may be used to better counsel patients after an initial fragility fracture and to improve predictive tools for monitoring subsequent injuries,” the authors wrote.
Samuel David Zetumer, Debbie Yen-Dao Dang, David Sing, Bobby Tay, Alan Zhang. "Risk for Initial and Subsequent Fragility Fractures Differ Based on Patient Sex," 2017 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in San Diego. March 2017.