A study to determine the likelihood of reduced life expectancy resulting after a bone fractured has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

After trauma, a person may experience a shortened life expectancy if they fail to get proper treatment.  Normal life expectancy can be restored and maintained with proper treatment.

 It is well known that hip and vertebral fractures increase the risk of premature death. Until now,  little has been known about the clinical impact of non-hip, non-vertebral fractures – so new Australian research showing that they may also increase the risk of death will better inform treatment.

Non-hip, non-vertebral fractures make up 50% of all osteoporotic fractures, and while they are less severe than hip and vertebral fractures, they are potentially very serious, and should be treated with bone-strengthening drugs to reduce the risk of further fracture.

The following findings were made:

  1. All fractures are serious, some more serious than others, and most have the potential to reduce life expectancy,
  2. Although we use the blanket terms ‘hip and vertebral fractures’ and ‘non-hip, non-vertebral fractures’ there is even a sliding scale of severity depending on specific fracture type,
  3. Hip fractures have much poorer outcomes and higher mortality, for example, than vertebral fractures,
  4. ‘Proximal fractures’, or those close to the body, such as humerus, rib or pelvic fractures, can be as serious as vertebral fractures, and have the potential to shorten life. ‘Distal fractures’, such as those in the wrist or ankle, do not in themselves shorten life, although they should be taken seriously because they double the risk of re-fracture,
  5. For people over 75, the risk of having a subsequent fracture is the same, no matter what the initial fracture type. This is important to know, because the second fracture could be a hip or vertebral fracture, even though the initial fracture is not.