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Although osteoporosis is frequently thought of as a "woman's disease", nearly 2 million American men have been diagnosed with the disease, and it is estimated that this number will increase by nearly 20 percent by 2015.

20% of all osteoporotic fractures and 30% of hip fractures in the United State occur in men. Research shows that fracture outcomes are worse in men. The one year mortality rate following hip fracture is 20% in women and 30% in men; vertebral fractures cause higher mortality in men than women, and the institutionalization rate after fracture is higher in men than women.

Osteoporosis is less common in men than women because they have larger, and therefore, stronger bones. Men do not experience the distinct bone loss equivalent of menopause and they have a shorter lifespan. The most significant risk factors which lead to osteoporosis in men are a family history of osteoporosis, advanced age, smoking, alcohol abuse, certain medical conditions and low levels of testosterone.

Low Testosterone. Hormones are important for both men and women. Low testosterone levels (determined by blood test) can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Treatment for prostate cancer involves depressing testosterone levels, so such treatment is also a risk factor.

Prescription drugs that can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Thyroid, cortisone-like drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs can increase your risk of bone loss.

Prostate Cancer Men undergoing hormonal treatment for prostate cancer may have lower bone density. This is because anti-cancer therapy targets testosterone, which stimulates the growth of hormone-sensitive prostate tumors. While these medications can stop or slow down cancer growth, they can also accelerate bone loss and dramatically increase bone fragility.

Resources: Real Men Need Strong Bones [pdf 116k]

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