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Osteoporosis Health Center

New Guidelines for Osteoporosis in Men

American College of Physicians Urges Periodic Screening for Older Men
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 8, 2008 -- The American College of Physicians has issued new guidelines to bring awareness to osteoporosis screening in older men.

"Osteoporosis is not just a women's disease," says Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, of the American College of Physicians, in a news release. "Not enough older men are being screened."

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become less dense, more porous, and more susceptible to fractures. It is commonly thought of as a problem for postmenopausal women, but it can also occur in men.

The American College of Physicians reports that the prevalence of osteoporosis is estimated to be 7% of white men, 5% of African-American men, and 3% of Hispanic men in the U.S. But the group says those figures are expected to grow as the population ages within the next 15 years.

Among the new guidelines:

  • Clinicians should periodically assess older men for risk factors of osteoporosis.
  • Clinicians should obtain DXA tests for men who are at increased risk for osteoporosis and candidates for medication treatment. The DXA test (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) measures bone density.
  • More research is recommended to assess screening tests for osteoporosis in men.

Here are some of the main risk factors of osteoporosis for men:

  • Age over 70
  • Low body weight    
  • Recent weight loss of more than 10%
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Use of some medications such as corticosteroids

The new guidelines are published in the May 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

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