Doctor aims to raise awareness of osteoporosis in minorities and men

Advertisements for osteoporosis medications often show middle-aged, Caucasian women. However, older men and minorities are also at risk for the condition, which affects millions of Americans each year.

Dr Claudette Macklin - a physician at MetroSouth Medical Center in Illinois - is trying to get the message out that African-Americans are also at risk of developing the disease, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"It's important to know that Caucasians and Asians have a lower bone density early on in life," said Macklin. "But as everyone approaches age 50, the gap between the races closes. It's a misconception that it only affects whites and Asians."

Macklin, who is African-American, has a particular interest in the issue because she has a close family member who was diagnosed with osteoporosis.

She said that chronic steroid use also places patients at greater risk of bone disease. Black people have a higher prevalence of lupus, which is often treated with steroids.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 44 million Americans are at an increased risk for bone fracture.