Osteoporosis may be under-diagnosed in men

Due to the fact that osteoporosis affects one in two women over a lifetime, many Americans are unaware that the condition affects one in five men as well. USA Today reports that because women generally have smaller skeletons, they lose more bone mass earlier and faster as they age. However, men with certain risk factors may be more likely to develop the bone-loss disorder.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently announced that "current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harm" of bone measurement tests, bone-scanning machines and bone-building drugs for men.

However, Amir Qaseem, a physician who directs a research and education program at the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia, supports the National Osteoporosis Foundation's recommendation that men at high risk seek bone scans.

Risk factors for osteoporosis in men include low body weight, a family history of the condition, smoking, heavy drinking, diets low in calcium and vitamin D, conditions such as low testosterone and taking certain medications such as glucocorticoids.

"It's always been viewed as a disease of women," Amir Qaseem told the news source. "But it's a very important public health issue for men, too. It's under-diagnosed and under-treated," he added.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, six percent of all men over 50 are destined to break a hip.