Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones gradually lose density, thinning and weakening over time. It is common among older adults of all genders, not just women. And yet many people mistakenly believe that it’s only a health concern for women, and not something men should be at all concerned about either. While it is true that the disease more commonly affects women, the truth is that men can and do get it too.
The misconception of osteoporosis being a disease for women causes many men to miss out on diagnosis and treatment, leaving them vulnerable to fractures, disability, loss of independence, and even early death. Consider that osteoporotic fractures affect 20% of men over the age of 50, and about 20-25% of hip fractures occur in men. Also, men are twice as likely to die after a hip fracture as compared to women. Men who suffer a fracture are at higher risk than women to suffer subsequent fractures. The lifetime risk of an osteoporotic fracture is 27% in men over the age of 50, which is more than double that of developing prostate cancer.
While bone loss accelerates in women after menopause, by age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. Osteoporosis can be treated effectively if it is detected before significant bone loss has occurred. But despite knowing the risks, testing and treatment of the disease is strikingly low among male patients. Age is one of the top risks for osteoporosis, so older men should consider getting tested for osteoporosis during their annual checkups.