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Men and Osteoporosis

Overall, 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. This is greater than the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.

Osteoporosis is often thought of as a women’s disease, because it is particularly common after menopause. In reality, osteoporosis also affects men. Fragility fractures are less common in men. When they occur, these fractures can be associated with higher rates of disability and death than in women.

During childhood, more bone is produced than removed, so the skeleton grows. For most people, bone mass peaks during young adulthood. By age 20, men typically have built more bone mass than women. After this point, the amount of bone in a man’s skeleton begins to decline. The removal of old bone exceeds formation of new bone.

To live a bone-healthy life

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  • Get a bone density test (DXA) if you have broken a bone or have a risk for breaking a bone.
  • Eat 2–3 servings of foods that are rich in calcium.
  • Consider a vitamin D supplement.
  • Pay attention to body mechanics to protect against a fracture.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity that involves weight-bearing, like running, tennis, tai chi, or weight training.
  • Use good posture when working or using mobile devices.
  • Improve your balance and posture in all daily activities.
  • Modify exercise programs like yoga and Pilates to avoid loaded flexion and twisting movements.
  • Stop multitasking when you walk.
  • Do not smoke or vape.
  • Limit your alcohol use.
  • Talk with your doctor if you develop any medical condition, to see how it might affect your bone health.
  • Ask your doctor if you take a medication about how it might affect your bone health.

Graph: International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis in Men: Why Changes Need to Happen. 2014

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The American Bone Health Fracture Risk Calculator™ estimates fracture risk for women and men over age 45.

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