Osteoporosis in Men

While osteoporosis is generally thought of and discussed as a disease that strikes post-menopausal women, the incidence of osteoporosis in men is also substantial.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that:

  • Nearly 2 million males in the US have osteoporosis
  • Another 12 million are at risk of developing the disease if medical and lifestyle interventions are not adopted.1

What's more, a study conducted of over 4,000 Australian men and women concluded that after an initial osteoporosis-related fracture, the absolute risk of a subsequent fracture within ten years of the first was similar in men and women.2

Article continues below

Men are at Higher Risk for Fracture

So while a larger percentage of women are initially twice as susceptible to osteoporosis, after osteoporosis takes hold and results in a fracture, the long-term impact for men is roughly equivalent, with 40% of surviving women and 60% of surviving men experiencing another fracture.

These figures may strike many as both surprising and alarming. Together, they underscore the need for men to become more educated about osteoporosis generally - its risk factors and treatments - as well as adopt changes that could prevent or mitigate the risk of fractures.

The highest risks of a subsequent fracture were in people who had a hip or spine fracture (e.g. vs. a wrist fracture) as their initial osteoporotic break.

Government researchers have found that after age 50:

  • Nearly 6% of men will experience a hip fracture
  • Nearly 5% of men will suffer a spinal (vertebral) fracture caused by osteoporosis.

Because of the prevalence of fractures, and the risk of subsequent fractures for men, osteoporosis in men is a serious medical issue. This article reviews both preventive care and treatment options for osteoporosis in men.


  1. National Osteoporosis Foundation website, nof.org/men, 2/10/2007.
  2. Center, J.R., et al., "Risk of Subsequent Fracture After Low-trauma Fracture in Men and Women," The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2007; 297:397-394.
Written by Grant Cooper, MD