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Osteoporosis is often thought of as a “woman’s disease,” but one-third of hip fractures occur in men. And while one in three women over the age of 50 will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture, so will one in five men.
In fact, a new report from the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) found that the lifetime risk of men experiencing an osteoporosis-related fracture after the age of 50 is up to 27 percent, higher than the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer (11 percent).1
Yet, because men aren’t typically viewed as “at risk” of osteoporosis, their increasingly fragile bones may go unnoticed. As a result, while hip fractures in women are expected to decrease by 3.5 percent from 2010 to 2013, hip fractures in men are expected to increase by nearly 52 percent during the same period.
Even more concerning, hip fractures appear to be deadlier in men than in women, with 37 percent of men dying in the first 12 months after such a fracture (compared to 20 percent of women).2
What Contributes to Thinning Bones in Men?
Bone weakening is a common problem associated with aging. In most people, sometime during your 30s, your bone mass will begin to gradually decline. For women, that bone loss can significantly speed up during the first 10 years after menopause, when sex hormones often decline rapidly. This is the period when osteoporosis often develops.
In men, however, testosterone levels tend to drop gradually, which is why increased bone breakdown and decreases in bone density tend to become most severe after the age of 70 (provided you’re not doing anything to counteract it, that is). Those with osteoporosis are at increased risk of height loss, fractures of the hips, wrists, and vertebrae, and chronic pain.
Poor diet, nutrient deficiencies, smoking, drinking excess alcohol, and sedentary behavior are common osteoporosis risk factors in both men and women. Certain medications also increase your risk, including steroids, anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, and hormone-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.