Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Osteoporosis in Men
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects your bones. It means that you have bones that are thin and brittle with lots of holes inside them like a sponge. This makes them easy to break. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones (fractures) in the hip, spine, and wrist. These fractures can be disabling and may make it hard for you to live on your own.
Osteoporosis affects millions of older adults. It usually occurs after age 60. It's most common in women, but men can get it too.
Osteoporosis is caused by a lack of bone strength or bone density.
As a natural part of aging, bone tissue breaks down. It is absorbed faster than new bone is made, and bones become thinner. You are more likely to have osteoporosis if you didn't reach your ideal bone density during your childhood and teen years.
Osteoporosis is much more common in women than in men. In women, bone loss increases around menopause. That's when ovaries decrease production of estrogen, a hormone that protects against bone loss. So the older a woman gets, the more likely she is to have osteoporosis.
In the early stages of osteoporosis, you probably won't have symptoms. As the disease progresses, you may have symptoms related to weakened bones, such as:
To diagnose osteoporosis, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. You may also have a test that measures your bone strength (bone density test) and your risk for a broken bone.
During the physical exam, the doctor will:
The bone density test helps your doctor estimate the strength of your bones. If the test finds that your bone thickness is less than normal but isn't osteoporosis, you may have low bone density (sometimes called osteopenia). It's a less severe type of bone thinning.
Routine urine and blood tests can rule out other medical conditions. These include hyperthyroidism and Cushing's syndrome. These conditions can cause bone loss.
Treatment for osteoporosis focuses on reducing bone loss, building bone strength, and preventing broken bones. Treatment may include:
Making even small changes in how you eat and exercise, along with taking medicine, can help prevent a broken bone.
It's also important to protect yourself from falling. For example, you can reduce your risk of breaking a bone by making your home safer.
Current as of:
December 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineCarla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Current as of: December 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.