Knowledge, Causes, and Risk Factors Associated with Fractures in the Elderly Population at Hospital Zacamil in El Salvador

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Virginia Tech

As the Salvadoran population's life expectancy increases, fractures among the elderly are also increasing. There is a dearth of data available on the incidence and cause of fractures in the elderly within developing countries including El Salvador. Inadequate knowledge about bone health and osteoporosis among the elderly is contributing to health issues in the aging population. The purpose of this study was to investigate incidence, knowledge, causes, and risk factors affecting elderly patients admitted for fractures at Hospital Zacamil in order to develop programs targeted to prevention. Study objectives included: 1) determine incidence, causes, and treatment of elderly fractures including hip fractures, vertebral fractures, and forearm fractures and related post-morbidity and/or mortality; 2) compare patient knowledge, cause, treatment of fractures and related post-morbidity and/or mortality among those aged 45 to 65 years with those over 65 years; 3) determine the level of knowledge and presence of risk factors for fractures and osteoporosis among patients including diet, exercise, and environmental risk factors and compare by gender. The research was approved by IRB prior to data collection. The methodology included a researcher-designed and validated survey administered to an accepting sample of 155 patients presenting with fractures to Hospital Zacamil between January 2008 and May 2008. The data were analyzed with SPSS software. Findings indicate that the incidence of fractures in the study sample and those in developed countries are similar. Knowledge and presence of risk factors are similar by age and gender within the study sample. The primary conclusion was that education is needed to prevent falls and osteoporosis. Recommendations for further research include recognition of culturally-specific factors in prevention education and further study of the methods of addressing prevention in the specified population and the outcomes of the educational intervention.

elderly, El Salvador, fractures, osteoporosis