The statistics on osteoporosis in men bring out the ugly truth on how older men do not report their deteriorating bone health to doctors and consequently do not seek corrective measures. It is suspected that as many as 25% of all hip fractures occur in men. (1) Of these patients, as many as 20% die in the first year of the fracture. This mortality figure is reported to be higher than for women with the same condition as the complications arising out of injury in men are of more serious nature and reported late so that efficient management becomes difficult. (2) As per the National Osteoporosis Foundation as many as 80,000 men fracture their hips every year.
In the U.S alone, a minimum of 3 million men over 50 years of age are afflicted with osteoporosis and approximately 17 million men in the same age group have low bone mass, yet the chances that they seek consultation from a primary healthcare doctor is slim for their debilitating condition. (3)
In a recent study, scientists found that men who see a primary healthcare physician for low bone mass or fractures/broken bones are more likely to get started on an osteoporosis treatment regimen and bisphosphonates (medication) and continue them. However, of the total male population for osteoporosis lesser than 25% of the people visited such healthcare professionals during the study.
The statistics are further corroborated by an analysis done on the insurance claims records of men in the state of Texas. A team from the Medical Branch of University of Texas sifted through the records of more than 17,600 men who were over 65 years of age and had claimed compensation for fracture treatments between the five year period between 2000 and 2005.
To bring further coherence and clarity to the survey, the team went on to classify the resulting data further into demographic, diagnostic, procedural and clinical parameters. This lead them to another startling discovery: before sustaining a fracture a mere 2.7% of the elderly men were detected with osteoporosis but as many as 17.2% were detected positive following a fracture. This brought out how important it is to have osteoporosis detected on time for men (as well as for women).
Researchers are insistent that visiting a physician and testing for bone density following a fracture incidence may improve the rate of bisphosphonate use among men at high risk for osteoporosis.
- Seeman E, The Dilemma of Osteoporosis in Men, Am J Med 98:76S, 1995.
- Center JR, Nguyen TV, Schneider D, et al., Mortality After All Major Types of Osteoporotic Fracture in Men and Women: An Observational Study, Lancet 353:878, 1999.
- Prevalence Report- Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass – Males, National Osteoporosis Foundation, 2002. http://www.nof.org/advocacy/resources/prevalencereport