Risk Factors for Osteoporosis and Fractures in Men
Even though bone loss in men usually occurs later in life compared with women, men can still be at high risk for osteoporosis. By age 65, men catch up to women and lose bone mass at the same rate. Additional risk factors such as a small body frame, long-term use of corticosteroids (medications prescribed for a wide range of diseases, including arthritis, asthma, Crohn disease, lupus, and other diseases), or low testosterone (or sex hormone) levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis in men.
It is estimated that by 2025, the total number of hip fractures in men will be similar to the current number reported in women. Perhaps because men are generally older than women are when they have a fracture, men are often more severely disabled. As with women, the hips, spine, and wrists are the most common sites of fracture. The complications and death caused by hip fractures is 3 times higher in men than women.
A bone density scan can detect thinning bones at an early stage. If you already have osteoporosis, bone scans can also tell you how fast the disease is progressing.
But an abnormal bone scan can create as many questions as it answers. Who should get a bone density scan, and what do the results mean? If your bone density is below normal, what can you expect, and what should you do?