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    Hip Fractures Linked to Prior Strokes

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    Not surprisingly, hip fracture patients who reported previous strokes had worse outcomes following fractures than those who had not had strokes. One year after hip fracture, nearly a third of those who had prior strokes had died, compared to 17% of those without strokes. At five years after fracture, 80% of stroke patients had died, compared to 60% of those who had not had strokes.

    In patients who reported having good mobility prior to their hip fracture, over two-thirds were still able to move around after being treated for the fracture, compared to just over a third of those reporting an earlier stroke.

    "Preventing hip fractures in stroke patients is very important, and it is an issue that has not been given much attention," Hademenos says. "It is important for both the patient and the physician to keep in mind that these fractures happen, they can be very serious, and they can interfere with rehabilitation, so it is important to take steps to prevent them."

    Such steps, Gustafson says, include better education efforts for people taking care of stroke survivors, including family members and health care providers working in hospitals and nursing homes. Gustafson's research team has conducted intervention programs in Sweden designed to inform health care providers about reducing the risk of falls and preventing osteoporosis.

    "Relatives play an important role here, because they are often the ones taking care of stroke patients," Gustafson says. "Education efforts are often aimed only at professional health care providers, but in this case that is not adequate. Educating family members about how to prevent falls is one of the most important steps we can take."

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