Feature Archive

Attention Men:

Osteoporosis

WebMD Feature

Although much attention has been focused on preventing and reversing osteoporosis in women, researchers are realizing that osteoporosis affects men, as well. "Some of the more recent studies show that older men and women have about equal rates, after age 70, of hip fractures," says Dr. Jesse Krakauer, director of the Beaumont Hospital Bone Health Clinic in Royal Oak, Michigan. According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis affects over 2 million men in the United States. Before the age of 90, 6 percent of all men will suffer a hip fracture as a result of this "silent disease."

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disorder in which bone density decreases, sometimes to the point where a minor fall, bump or even a sneeze can cause a spinal vertebra to collapse like an aluminum can, or a hip to snap like a dry wishbone.

Dr. Frederick Kaplan, orthopedist and professor of Orthopedic Molecular Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, says that "primary" osteoporosis, which accounts for about half of all cases of osteoporosis, has no well-understood cause. Secondary osteoporosis is related to diseases, immobilization, poor nutrition, medications, alcoholism, smoking and other causes.

Men who appear healthy who don't drink excessively or smoke can make the following smart choices to discourage osteoporosis-related fractures late in life: