Geriatric fractures or fractures in elderly people are special category of fractures in adults.
With age the bones loose their mineral content and become weak, a situation called osteoporosis.
Therefore old people are prone to injuries with minimal trauma. A trauma which would be tolerated easily in young adults would result in fractures in elderly. Sometimes, the fractures in elderly can be caused by routine movements of getting up or bending down.
Types of Fractures in Elderly
A few fractures are more common and typical of old age. These include
- Fracture neck of femur
- Fracture of intertrochanteric region in femur
- Fracture of distal end of radius
- osteoporotic compression fractures of spine.
- Fractures of upper end humerus
Associated Medical Illnesses
Elderly people also have many other problems or medical illnesses. Diabetes, hypertension, cardiac problems, respiratory illness, neurological problems are frequent accompaniment of old age. Therefore elderly people are at more risk when compared to young adults for any kind of surgical procedure.
The associated medical illnesses may force the surgeon to exercise a treatment option which has lesser risk rather than going for best treatment.
There are a lot of associated problems too and that make the fractures in elderly different category for treatment purpose. As the joints age, they are more prone to get stiff with immobolisation. That demands watchfulness and extensive physiotherapy for these persons.
Lesser Demands and Expectations From Treatment
Another factor in the treatment of fractures in elderly is that they have lesser physical demands unlike young adults.
With increase in our understanding of causes of associated morbidity, newer devices and newer treatment methods aim at reduction of all these. But still, elderly people is a subgroup of population who stand the higher risk.
There is a social problem too. Many of the old people are not cared enough or are provided a reluctant care by their family. Many stay alone because their children have moved to some other place. This frequently results in depression and lack of enthusiasm to live. We need to have a relook into our social structure.
Most practical is to avoid trauma. This would prevent getting injured and the morbidity that follows. With some simple precautions , one can avoid falling or tripping.
Elderly people should also make an active effort to maintain an active lifestyle and take a good diet.
This would help them to keep a good bone stock for a long time.
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