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Hip fractures may be particularly dangerous for older women

Of the 300,000 people who suffer hip fractures each year, women between the ages of 65 and 79, as well as healthy women over age 80, are particularly at risk within a year after the fracture, according to a new study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA/Archives journal.

The study found that women in this age group have an increased chance of short-term mortality and that these risks return to previous levels after one year for women ages 70 and older. The study is the first to take health status into account when researching mortality risk associated with hip fracture.

The limitations in previous research have made it difficult for researchers to figure out whether the spike in mortality post-fracture are the result of poor health overall or the hip fracture itself, the study's authors point out.

New research compared older women who had suffered hip fractures with healthy controls with the same age. It found that participants with a hip fracture had odds of death in the following year that were twice as high as the control group, 16.9 percent compared with 8.4 percent.

The researchers say that the findings illustrate a need to prevent hip fractures and develop interventions that could decrease mortality rates during that high-risk period.