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Docs Issue Guideline on Screening for Osteoporosis in Men

WEDNESDAY May 7, 2008 -- A new clinical guideline on screening for osteoporosis in men has been developed by the American College of Physicians (ACP), which notes that osteoporosis rates among men are expected to increase 50 percent over the next 15 years.

Osteoporosis-related fractures in men result in substantial disease, death and health costs, and the one-year death rate in men after hip fracture is twice that of women.

"Older men, especially those over the age of 65, need to be assessed regularly for risk factors for osteoporosis," Dr. Amir Qaseem, senior medical associate in ACP's clinical programs and quality of care department, said in a prepared statement. "Osteoporosis is not just a woman's disease. It is significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated in men. Not enough older men are being screened."

Risk factors for osteoporosis in men include: older age, low body weight, weight loss, physical inactivity, previous fractures not caused by substantial trauma, low-calcium diets, and ongoing use of certain drugs, such as corticosteroids like prednisone or drugs that are sometimes used to treat prostate cancer.

The new guideline says doctors should periodically assess older men for osteoporosis risk factors and should order a DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan for men who are at increased risk for osteoporosis and are candidates for drug therapy.

The guideline, based on a review of previously published studies, was published in the May 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Current U.S. rates of osteoporosis are estimated to be 7 percent in white men, 5 percent in black men, and 3 percent in Hispanic men. However, osteoporosis rates among U.S. men are expected to increase almost 50 percent in the next 15 years, and hip fracture rates could double by 2040, according to background information in a news release about the new guideline.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a bone mineral density test for men aged 70 and older. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn't have an osteoporosis screening recommendation for men.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about osteoporosis in men.

Posted: May 2008


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