Osteoporosis and men

Are men affected by osteoporosis?
Yes, although men do not have the rapid decline in bone density that women do after menopause, men gradually lose bone density as they age. Many men do not realize that they have lost bone until the problem is quite advanced or until they have broken a bone. Experts recommend a bone density test for men over the age of 70 or before if they have other risk factors.

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis in men? 
Lifestyle risk factors are similar to those for women, low calcium intake, lack of weight-bearing exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake can contribute to low bone density. In addition, certain diseases and their treatments can put a man at risk, for example Crohn's disease, chronic lung disease, kidney problems and prostate cancer. Low testosterone levels can also negatively affect bone density. Certain medications can have adverse effect on bone. Some medications that have been associated with osteoporosis are anti-seizure medications, some cancer treatments and steroids. In addition, advanced age, family history of osteoporosis, history of bone fracture without trauma and race can increase your risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs in men of all races, however it occurs more frequently in white men.

Is osteoporosis testing in men different from that of women?
No. Bone density testing is the same for men as women. Your healthcare provider will refer you for a DXA or bone density test. This is a quick and painless test to measure the amount of bone you have. You will lie on a table, fully clothed and an examination of your hip, spine and forearm using low levels of x-ray will be done.

How is osteoporosis in men treated?
Your doctor may prescribe a medication approved for the treatment of osteoporosis in men. In addition to medication, your healthcare provider will discuss adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and a program of regular weight-bearing exercise. It is important to remember that smoking and excessive alcohol intake can contribute to poor bone health.