Osteoporosis: Not a Sexist Disease

Who'd have thought it: One in eight men have osteoporosis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Think of osteoporosis -- the leading type of bone disease -- and you're likely to imagine a frail, little old lady. The truth is at least one in eight Canadian men have the disease, too.

That figure doesn't compare to the one in four women in Canada who have the disease, but it is significant considering osteoporosis is so closely linked to post-menopausal women in popular consciousness. About 28 million Americans have the disease.

Most men will not be screened for osteoporosis until their 70s or 80s, if then, which means symptoms such as fractures, bone pain and height loss remain unattributed to the disease. Women, meanwhile, are bombarded with advertising messages -- some featuring celebrities as high-profile as Sally Field -- and begin screenings for the disease much earlier. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends routine osteoporosis screenings for women 65 and older.  One reason women are affected so much more is because there is an correlation between the reduction of estrogen that happens after menopause and a reduction in bone mineral density.  The reduction in testosterone production in men as they age also has an effect on bone mineral density, but to a lesser degree.

By the time women are 16 years old and men are 20, bones stop growing and are at their peak bone mass, making it essential children get daily recommended allowances of calcium and vitamin D, which support bone health. These nutrients can be found in milk, cheese and yogurt (even the healthier, low-fat varieties) and supplements, among other sources.



Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 17, 2010
Last Updated:
December 20, 2010