What Puts Men at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on November 18, 2020

Women are four times more likely to get the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis than men, but men still get it. For them, it usually comes on later in life. By age 70, men catch up to women in the rate they lose bone.

Because men tend to be older when they get osteoporosis, the complications from broken bones can be more serious for them. Hip, spine, and wrist bones break most often.

Along with age, other things linked to osteoporosis in men include:

  • Chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach, and intestines or change hormone levels
  • Regular use of drugs like corticosteroids (a type of steroid medication that curbs inflammation), or others that suppress the immune system
  • Low levels of testosterone
  • Unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, getting too little calcium and vitamin D, and not enough exercise
  • Race. White men appear to be at the greatest risk
  • Small body frame

You can take steps to protect yourself. Eating foods rich in vitamin D and calcium is a good start. Supplements may help give you those essential bone-building nutrients if you’re not getting them in what you eat. Regular exercise helps build strong bones, too. You may need osteoporosis medication. Talk to your doctor to find out what’s right for you.

WebMD Medical Reference




National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Osteoporosis in Men.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Osteoporosis in Men.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Osteoporosis in Men.”

National Osteoporosis Foundation: “Just for Men.”

National Osteoporosis Foundation: “What Women Need to Know.”

University of Maryland Medical Center: “Phosphorus.”

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