Many men with osteoporosis risk factors do not meet minimum requirements for screening

A new case study conducted at the University of Kansas has determined that many men who present the risk factors of osteoporosis do not meet the Medicare guidelines for bone-mass density screening.

The study, which is published in the Journal of Men's Health, indicates that aging men who appear relatively healthy may actually be at serious risk for osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 2 million American men have the bone-loss condition, or roughly one-fifth of all cases in the U.S.

The study's authors stress that this minority status decreases the likelihood that men will receive bone health examinations, at least until their bone loss becomes too serious to overlook.

As an example, researchers related the case of a 71-year-old male who received a routine physical exam at the university medical center. He reported a moderate smoking habit and said that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for which he took inhaled ipratropium bromide and albuterol.

The patient's mother had had osteoporosis, but since he had not experienced any bone fractures, he had not previously been asked to undergo a bone density test.

The study's authors concluded that this case is a clear illustration of an instance in which a mature man should get a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry exam, which accurately tests bone mineral density.

Like many men who do not receive preventive care for osteoporosis, the patient exhibited multiple risk factors for the disease, including his age, smoking status, pulmonary health and family history of osteoporosis.

He had not, however, experienced any vertebral fractures, taken glucocorticoids or been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, which are Medicare's current markers for bone health screenings for men.

The team concluded that osteoporosis screening for men is limited both by incomplete public health guidelines and by a lack of awareness of the disease's potential to affect males.
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