When you think of breaking your bones, you might not necessarily think of death. But don’t be mistaken: a broken bone can be life-threatening.
Some can be more dangerous than others. And if you’ve got an existing condition like heart disease, kidney disease, or other complex health conditions, a fracture could be even more dangerous.
Researchers found that older adults suffered a higher death rate when the fractures occurred closer to the center of the body, and particularly when the people who’d suffered the fracture were battling or had battled underlying health issues.
Fractures in a “central area,” including those to the hip, vertebrae, or upper arm bones, appeared to lead to higher death rates than when a fracture was suffered further away, like the forearm or wrist.
These findings may influence how doctors assess and treat bone fractures.
Why fractures tend to be more risky in particular areas, especially when a person is battling multiple or complex health conditions, is not entirely clear.
The study author believes that it may have something to do with interactions between bone and the immune system.
A broken bone leads to higher bone turnover, which can boost inflammatory factors. If a person is battling a health condition and their immune system is already fired up, a fracture may exacerbate the issue or overtax the immune system.
You may be able to reduce your risk of a potentially life-threatening bone break by doing a few things. One is to treat and manage any underlying health conditions. Try your best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, lose weight, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Building strong, healthy bones is not out of reach, either. Getting enough calcium, perhaps through supplementation, vitamin D, and weight-bearing exercise, can help strengthen bone and reduce the fracture risk.