Harvard Men's Health Watch

Osteoporosis caution: Men at risk

Part I: Causes and diagnosis

Young men may feel invulnerable, but as men get older, they grow wise to the ways of the body. As the years pile on, men begin to worry about heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cognitive decline, and prostate disease "" all with good reason. Faced with so many concerns, most gents are only too happy to cross "women's diseases" off their worry lists. It's understandable, but in the case of osteoporosis, it's a big mistake.

Hard facts

Although osteoporosis is more common in females than males, it's not a woman's disease. In fact, about two million American men have osteoporosis and another 12 million are at risk. Because osteoporosis starts later in men than women, most men with "thin bones" are over age 65. All in all, about one in every five 50-year-old men will suffer an osteoporotic facture during his remaining years. Hip fractures are particularly common and are more serious for men than women, with a one-year mortality rate of up to 37.5%.

So, if you think osteoporosis is a woman's disease, think again. Then think about ways to prevent, recognize, and treat this important disease of men and women.

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