Bone Fragility Fractures Could Increasingly Affect Men

Osteoporosis and bone density loss put both men and women at risk of hip, wrist and vertebrae fractures

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Weakened bones from osteoporosis can lead to hip and other fractures. Although it’s commonly thought of as a problem only aging women face, new research suggests that, because osteoporosis is underdiagnosed in men, they face a higher risk of death following a hip fracture.

In an awareness campaign ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Oct. 20, researchers with the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) called for better osteoporosis monitoring for men. As part of this campaign, they released a new report.

In the report, the authors called for increased awareness about the threat osteoporosis poses to men.

Osteoporosis decreases bone mass with age. Lower bone mass makes a break more likely. The most common osteoporosis-related breaks occur in the vertebrae, wrist and hip.

In the new report, IOF Board member Peter Ebeling, MBBS, and colleagues tracked worldwide trends related to osteoporosis fractures.

“All too often, osteoporosis is perceived as a ‘woman’s disease’ that is not preventable or an urgent health concern to men,” the authors wrote. “The primary purpose of this report is to debunk these myths and raise awareness of the threat that osteoporosis poses to older men throughout the world.”

The authors wrote that osteoporosis fractures affect 1 in 5 men older than 50. Based on population trends, the authors projected that there would be a 10-fold increase in men older than 60 by 2050. With an aging population, the group of men at risk of osteoporosis could grow to 900 million.

The authors wrote that osteoporosis fractures in men in the European Union would increase by 34 percent by 2025 — to 1.6 million each year.

The same trend in the US predicted a 51.8 percent increase by 2030. For women, osteoporosis fractures are expected to decrease by 3.5 percent in that time frame.

The authors also reported that hip fractures in men are more deadly than in women. The rate of death in the first year after fracture was 37 percent for men — more than double the death rate in women.

For the year 2000 alone, the authors found more than 1 million osteoporosis fractures in men — 490,000 hip fractures and 554,000 vertebrae fractures.

To address the gap between care for men and women, the authors recommended an osteoporosis exam for any man who breaks a bone. They also suggested education and awareness campaigns as the aging population continues to grow.

The IOF members also called on world governments to publish health guidelines with information on osteoporosis in men.

“A battle is set to rage between the quantity and quality of life,” Dr. Ebeling, of Monash University in Victoria, Australia, said in a press statement. “We must act now to ensure men not only live longer but also have a future free of the pain and suffering caused by osteoporotic fractures.”

The paper was published online Oct. 9 on the IOF website.


Review Date: 
October 8, 2014
Last Updated:
October 13, 2014