Although osteoporosis may seem like a women’s disease, men can develop it, too. But, unfortunately, men often do not receive the necessary bone screening to determine their risk as much as women do. As a result, men do not receive the necessary advice and treatment in order to prevent bone loss.
Dr. Mary Ruppe, an endocrinologist at the Houston Methodist Hospital, said, “Women have a screening safety net. Between their primary care physician and ob-gyn, women will begin bone density screenings at the appropriate age. Men are less likely to have routine primary care checkups and don’t receive preventative care similar to what is provided for women.”
In the U.S., nearly 1.5 million men over the age of 65 have osteoporosis and another 3.5 million are at risk.
By the age of 50, men should be regularly screened for risk factors associated with bone loss, as the risk of bone loss increases with age. Routine bone density tests should occur annually after the age of 70 for men.
A large risk factor for male bone loss is family history, along with the use of prescription steroids, gastrointestinal disease diagnosis, use of prostate cancer drugs, and alcohol abuse.
If bone loss is detected early, preventative care can come into play along with medications to prevent further bone loss. Additionally, low bone mass could contribute to other health conditions, such as low vitamin D or low testosterone.
Ruppe concluded, “Each year, approximately 80,000 men will suffer a hip fracture, and studies have shown they have a higher mortality rate after a hip fracture than women of the same age. Such data underscores the importance of routine osteoporosis screening for men.”
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Common thing weakening your bones.