The word osteoporosis means porous bone. This bone disease is characterized by losing too much bone or making too little. Therefore, bones become brittle and weak, and can easily break. Almost 1.5 million men over the age of 65 have osteoporosis in the United States and over twice that many are at risk for developing it. In fact, osteoporosis affects more men than prostate cancer. This is why it’s important for osteoporosis screenings for both men and women.
Should Men Have Osteoporosis Screenings?
Although it’s standard for women to have bone density screenings, men are less likely to have them. This is due to both infrequent routine primary care checkups and less preventative care than women. It’s recommended that men be screened starting at age 50, taking into consideration risk factors such as the family history of a parent who has suffered a hip fracture. Also, the chances for osteoporosis increase dramatically at age 70.
Prescription steroid use, gastrointestinal disease, use of prostate cancer drugs, and alcohol abuse can also be risk contributors. Interestingly, men who smoke are more likely than women to have osteoporosis and fractures of the vertebrae. Yet, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increases risks for low bone density among both men and women.
Osteoporosis treatments for men are very much like those for women. To help preserve bone strength and change the cycle of bone formation, several approved medications are available. Additional screenings can identify causes of low bone density, such as Vitamin D deficiency or low testosterone levels. Of course, diagnosis is vital to begin treatment.
Each year 80,000 men suffer from a hip fracture and studies have shown that after a hip fracture, they have a higher mortality rate than women. With knowledge of the risks, it’s easy to see the need for routine screening for men as well as women.
We at Spine & Orthopedic Center believe that early detection and treatment can make a difference in the prevention of future fractures. If you are over the age of 50 and are interested in finding out more about screening or treatment for osteoporosis, please call or visit Spine & Orthopedic Center today for more information.