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Fathers, Brothers & Husbands do get Osteoporosis too

Fathers, Brothers & Husbands do get Osteoporosis too

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Colles Fracture Colles Fracture

By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

Blokes can often neglect their health or have their health neglected. This is the case with Osteoporosis.

Aspects of difference between the sexes were presented at the last osteoporosis meeting I attended (link), as was data confirming that the bisphosphonate medications do work in males just like they do for females.

I thought I'd highlight this bony plight of men.

First, osteoporosis is common for men, as it is for women:

  • The incidence of minimal trauma (also known as osteoporotic or fragility) fractures in men is still approximately 1/3 to 1/2 that in women
  • Almost 1 in 4 men aged over 60 will have an osteoporotic fracture
  • By 2050, the number of hip fractures is expected to increase by 300% in men

And, it isn't pretty when it happens:

  • Morbidity & mortality of hip fractures is 3 times higher in men than it is in women!
  • After the hip fracture, 50% of men do not regain their independence and mobility

Osteoporosis in men has some different causes and exacerbating factors:

  • 50% of men will have Secondary Osteoporosis compared with 20-30% in women (learn more about secondary osteoporosis)
  • Common factors include the use of oral steroids, low/reduced sex hormones, smoking and excessive alcohol

The good news is that there are effective, well-tolerated treatments for osteoporosis. These treatments actually help prevent an osteoporotic fracture occurring and therefore help reduce the suffering and death caused by osteoporosis.

You (and I assume you're more likely to be female if you're reading my blog!) just have to convince your male loved one to consider discussing osteoporosis with their doctor.

Have you had experience with this? If you're a male with osteoporosis, I'd love to hear your story.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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