Osteoporosis: Not Just for Women?>

Osteoporosis: Not Just for Women

by Andrea Klausner, MS, RD  

About one-third of all osteoporotic hip fractures worldwide occur in men, according to a new report from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, which calls this bone-thinning disease one “that for far too long has been considered to be exclusively a problem for women." Yet men are far less likely to be assessed and treated than women. The result is unnecessary pain, disability, income loss, and even premature death. In fact, compared to women, men are more likely to die after a hip fracture, with a one-year mortality rate of 37 percent seen in one study.

Other eye-opening stats: After age 50, one in five men will eventually suffer an osteoporotic fracture, compared with one in three women. Men are about twice as likely to suffer an osteoporotic fracture than be diagnosed with prostate cancer. And the number of hip fractures among men in the U.S. is expected to increase by 50 percent between 2010 and 2030.

Risk factors for osteoporosis in both men and women include increasing age, family history, low calcium intake, vitamin D insufficiency, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excess alcohol, and long-term use of glucocorticoids and certain other drugs. A risk factor unique to men is low testosterone levels that may, for example, result from prostate cancer treatment.

To reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, men, like women, should consume adequate calcium, vitamin D, and protein; do weight-bearing exercise most days of the week; not smoke; and keep alcohol intake moderate. For men who develop osteoporosis, the good news is that there are several effective treatment options, just as there are for women. The full report can be found here. Click here for more on screening guidelines and bone health recommendations for men.