New Guidelines for Osteoporosis in Men

American College of Physicians Urges Periodic Screening for Older Men

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on May 07, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

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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Qaseem, A. Annals of Internal Medicine, May 6, 2008; vol 148: pp 680-684.

News release, American College of Physicians.

Video news release, American College of Physicians.

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