Study Encourages Increased Osteoporosis Screening in Men

Doctor holding up a card with the word prevention on itMen with osteoporosis may not receive adequate treatment for their condition since they are screened less than women, according to the results of a study.

Researchers at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center explored osteoporosis screening rates in men since, according to the researchers, the condition affects 20% of all males. Their study, “Gender differences in osteoporosis screening: retrospective analysis,” was published online ahead of print in November 2012. It appears in the Archives of Osteoporosis.

According to the study authors, osteoporosis leads to more than 1.5 million fractures each year in the US. They also state that up to 20% of people with osteoporosis who have a hip fractures die within a year due to related complications. The study notes that the Endocrine Society recommends that men over the age of 70 be tested for osteoporosis, even if they do not exhibit other risk factors for the condition. 

To explore differences in osteoporosis screening between male and female patients, the researchers conducted a study of patients in their home institute’s Division of Internal Medicine. Men between the ages of 70 and 75, as well as women aged 65-70, were included in the study. All of the participants had a primary care physician at the researchers’ university-based outpatient clinic, and they had undergone at least one routine health exam since 2002.

Screening rate was determined by the number of patients who had dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) performed to test for osteoporosis compared to the total number of eligible patients. The results of the analysis showed that the screening rate among male patients was 18.4%, while the screening rate among female patients was 60%.

The study authors conclude that their results show that men are less likely than women to be screened for osteoporosis, even though they have a significant risk for the condition.

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