Men are twice as likely to die from hip fractures as women, prompting experts to warn men to look after their bone health or risk death.
Osteoporosis is often viewed as a “women’s disease” but new figures from the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) found that as many as 37 percent of men die following a hip fracture, making the condition twice as fatal for them as for women.
The IOF have warned that men are the weaker sex when it comes to death and disability from osteoporosis, with related fractures affecting one in five men over the age of 50.
“It is estimated that the lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 years is up to 27 percent, higher than that of developing prostate cancer,” said IOF president Professor John Kanis.
“Yet an inadequate amount of health-care resources are being invested in bone, muscle and joint diseases.”
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to become more fragile and break easily.
The IOF said governments and health care systems put so much emphasis on cancer and heart disease that bone health is being ignored.
Osteoporosis is identified in fewer than 20 percent of men after their first bone break but the IOF said that if healthcare professionals could pick it up earlier, the risk of further fractures and early death could be reduced.
In Australia, a quarter of the 1.2 million people with osteoporosis are men and numbers are expected to rise with the ageing population.
“As the population is ageing, there are increasing numbers of men getting osteoporosis because they are living longer,” Gail Morgan, Osteoporosis Australia CEO, told ninemsn.
“Most of the time, osteoporosis is linked to changes in hormones: when women go through menopause, changes in the hormone levels have a degrading affect on bones and causes them to get weaker.
“For men, their body goes through a decrease in testosterone and their bones become more brittle.”
Morgan said men need to focus on creating better bone mass in their younger years.
“They need to get enough calcium and sunshine and do weight-bearing exercise in childhood and their 20s and 30s,” she said.
“If you build up your bone mass when you are younger, when you do go through those changes and see a decrease in testosterone your bones will be much better able to cope with that.”
A recent survey by Osteoporosis Australia showed that 60 percent of men did not believe they would get osteoporosis.
The “Osteoporosis in men: why change needs to happen” report by IOF has been released ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on October 20.
Author: Kimberly Gillan. Approving editor: Wade O’Leary.
October 10, 2015