June 15, 2006 -- Call it a sign of the times: As the world's population ages, experts predict a boom in hip fractures.
"The estimated number of hip fractures worldwide will rise from 1.7 million in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2050," write Philip Sambrook, MD, and Cyrus Cooper, DM, in The Lancet.
Sambrook is a professor at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research at Australia's University of Sydney. Cooper is a professor at the MRC Epidemiology Research Centre at England's University of Southampton.
Their estimate assumes a stable rate of hip fractures. But if the hip fracture rate rises by just 1%, "the number of hip fractures worldwide could be as high as 8.2 million by 2050," write Sambrook and Cooper.
They add that other fractures are also likely to increase as people age. The culprit: osteoporosisosteoporosis, or porous bones.
In osteoporosis, bones gradually thin and weaken, leading to a higher risk for fractures. Osteoporosis is most often seen in postmenopausal women. Men can also get osteoporosis, usually at later ages than women.
Doctors can check for osteoporosis by doing a bone densitybone density scan. Drugs that can maintain or build bone are often recommended for people with or at high risk for osteoporosis.
Tips for osteoporosis prevention include:
- Eat foods rich in calcium, such as nonfat milk, low-fat yogurt, broccoli, cauliflower, salmon, tofu, sesame seeds, almonds, and green, leafy vegetables.
- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine, which may interfere with your body's absorption of calcium.
- Do weight-bearing exercises for 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week.
- Don't smoke. Smoking may make osteoporosis more likely.