Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease” because it progresses without symptoms until a fracture occurs. It develops less often in men than in women because men have larger skeletons, their bone loss starts later and progresses more slowly, and they have no period of rapid hormonal change and bone loss. However, in the past few years the problem of osteoporosis in men has been recognized as an important public health issue, particularly in light of estimates that the number of men above the age of 70 will continue to increase as life expectancy continues to rise.
Facts and statistics:
• Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
• Approximately two million American men already have osteoporosis. About 12 million more are at risk.
• Men older than 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
• Each year, about 80,000 men will break a hip.
• Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to problems related to the break.
• Men can break bones in the spine or break a hip, but this usually happens at a later age than women.
Healthy Habits, Healthy Bones – Osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of aging. There are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Many of the risk factors that put women at risk for osteoporosis apply to men as well. For example, family history, taking steroid medicines, not exercising, smoking, drinking too much alcohol or having low testosterone levels can put you at risk for getting osteoporosis. Evidence also suggests that low estrogen levels in men can lead to bone loss, as does having other medical problems such as chronic kidney, lung or gastrointestinal disease, prostate cancer and certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, or aren’t sure, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider.