Gentlemen, you too may be at risk of osteoporosis

man blindfolded
On World Osteoporosis Day IOF urged all men to check their personal risk for osteoporosis and fractures.

Many men may turn a blind eye to health issues – this is supported by statistics from the UK, USA and Australia which show that men are 20-25% less likely than women to visit a doctor.

In fact, the vast majority of men who are at high risk of suffering fractures caused by osteoporosis remain unaware of their own personal risk. Since doctors too tend to neglect the bone health of their older male patients (see results of IOF World Osteoporosis Day survey), many men who are at potential risk of fractures due to osteoporosis are being left undiagnosed and untreated.

That’s why as a man, you need to be proactive in recognizing your own personal risk factors and asking your doctor for testing.

How does a man know whether he should be tested?

Key fact: anyone – male or female – who has suffered a fracture as a result of a fall from standing height or less since the age of 50 should undergo assessment for osteoporosis and fracture risk.

In addition, although guidelines differ from country to country, specific guidelines for osteoporosis management in males from the Endocrine Society in the USA recommend that men with these additional common risk factors for osteoporosis should have a bone mineral density (BMD) test:

Causes related to modifiable lifestyle factors:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Excessive exercise

Causes related to nutritional deficiencies:

  • Eating disorders and low BMI (<20)
  • Malabsorption (often associated with diseases such as coeliac disease, Crohn's disease)
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Causes related to diseases and their treatments:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Delayed puberty
  • Glucocorticoid excess (endogenous or exogenous)
  • HIV and protease inhibitor therapy
  • Hypercalciuria
  • Hypogonadism (including Androgen Deprivation Therapy )
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Mastocytosis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Thyrotoxicosis

Don't hesitate to ask your doctor about bone health

If you have any of the risk factors shown above you should ask your doctor the following questions at your next check-up:

  1. I have a common risk factor for osteoporosis, so do you agree that I should have a bone density test done? How often should it be repeated?
  2. Can you calculate my risk of suffering future fractures? 
  3. What should I be doing with respect to calcium, vitamin D and exercise?
  4. Can you advise me of specific lifestyle changes I can make to improve my bone health?
  5. Do I need specific therapy to treat osteoporosis?

If you’re a woman and reading this then please share these important messages with the men in your life.

LYB logoThis article appeared in our monthly Love Your Bones newsletter - sent free to all IOF members.

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