Harvard Men's Health Watch

Men at risk of low bone strength not checked as closely as women

Low bone strength, or osteoporosis, is not just a women's problem, but some men may not receive the level of scrutiny they should for the condition, suggests a study at one hospital in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Doctors reviewed five years of medical records of 95 men and 344 women, all over age 50, who were treated for wrist fractures at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Breaking a bone is a possible sign osteoporosis, and some guidelines suggest bone density testing for people 50 and older after a fracture.

The study found sharp differences in the number of men and women who received a test for bone strength called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), bone-building calcium and vitamin supplements, or medication to improve bone strength, all within six months of the fracture. For example, 53% of the women had DEXA or treatment, compared with 18% in the men, a rate the researchers deemed "unacceptably low."

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