Justice Ginsburg's fractured ribs are common in older women

Thursday, November 8, 2018
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Justice Ginsburg's fractured ribs are common in older women. Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on November 8, 2018.

Justice Ginsburg is 85-years-old. She reportedly fell last night in her office and when she went home was feeling some discomfort so she went to the hospital Thursday.

Doctors say this is not an uncommon injury for older women. But there are some factors that help when it comes to recovery.

She's presently the oldest Justice on the Supreme Court, but Ginsburg doesn't appear to be slowing down.

Recently she's become known for her popularity among millennials and for her workouts. Stephen Colbert even joined her at the gym.

But her health took a hit, a fall leading to three fractured ribs.

Doctor Charles Breish specializes in geriatric care. He says this type of injury in this age group is common.

"Basically studies have shown about 50-percent of people 80 and older will fall over the course of a year," he said.

And he says 6-percent will suffer a major injury including a fracture.

Older women with weaker bones can be especially at risk.

Treatment is managing pain, starting with medications with few side effects such as Tylenol.

The greatest danger is for pneumonia. If you can't move as much or take deep breaths, fluid can build up in your lungs.

People who are active such as Justice Ginsburg typically recover well.

"Getting back to a normal routine will help with keeping to take deep breaths, with the lungs open and it can help with pain," said Dr. Breish.


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