Hip fracture tied to ‘fat’ gene

Q: I know I am somewhat overweight, but it is so hard to lose as I get older and less mobile.

I’m still trying to live alone at 80, but worry that I will fall and break a hip.

Do you have any recommendations?

A: Find a doctor you are comfortable talking with then share your concerns.

Perhaps your physician can recommend a plan to help you get healthier and avoid the potential risk of a fall and hip fracture.

Fractures are of concern for seniors like yourself and recent research does connect obesity with fracture risk.

Australian researchers have found a strong association between the FTO (fat and obesity) gene and hip fracture in women.

While the gene already is well known to affect diabetes and body fat, this is the first study to show that a variation of this gene could increase the risk of hip fracture by as much as 82 percent.

Published online in Clinical Endocrinology, researchers from Sydney, Australia’s, Garvan Institute of Medical Research believe the findings have the potential to improve prediction of hip fracture.

Known risk factors, also to be taken into account, include advancing age, falls, history of fracture, low bone mineral density, low body mass index (BMI) and genetic make-up.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to lower their hip fracture risk, older adults can:

Get adequate calcium and vitamin D from food and/or from supplements.

Do weight-bearing exercise.

Get screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis.

Regular exercise and eye doctor check-ups can help prevent falls as could double checking with a doctor to make sure medications won’t cause dizziness, according to the CDC.

The CDC also recommends assessing the home for tripping hazards.

In addition, perhaps you could benefit from the help of a caregiving companion.

Home Instead CAREGiversSM provide assistance around the house and help motivate seniors to take better care of themselves.

CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and available 24/7 including holidays.

For more information, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.

To learn more about the study, visit www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/fat-and-obesity-gene-also-affects-hip-fracture.html.

For more from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about preventing falls, visit www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact DeLauter at 866-522-6533 or visit www.homeinstead.com.

DeLauter is the owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Lewisburg, which serves Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Lycoming, Clinton, Montour and Columbia counties.