Men need osteoporosis screening, too, says Endocrine Society

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The Endocrine Society has issued a new set of clinical guidelines urging some men to get bone density scans to check for osteoporosis. The updated clinical practice guideline was published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Although more common in women, men still account for approximately one-fifth of the total number of Americans with osteoporosis or low bone density. Studies have shown the condition increases mortality rates in men between the ages of 50 and 69, according to the Endocrine Society.

“Mortality after fracture is higher in men than in women. Of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 2 million are men,” Nelson Watts, MD, of Mercy Health Osteoporosis and Bone Health Services in Cincinnati and chair of the task force that authored the guideline, said in a release. “Of the 2 million fractures due to osteoporosis that occur each year, 600,000 are in men.”

Specific recommendations from the clinical practice guideline include:

  • Men at higher risk for osteoporosis should be tested using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). High-risk men include individuals aged 70 years or older and men between the ages of 50 and 69 with low body weight, prior fractures as an adult and smokers.
  • Men with low vitamin D levels ( <30 ng/ml) should receive vitamin D supplements.
  • Pharmacologic treatment should be given to men aged 50 and older who have had spine or hip fractures, as well as men at high risk of fracture based on low bone mineral density or other clinical risk factors. Bone mineral density should be monitored by DXA every one to two years to assess treatment response.
  • Men who are at risk for osteoporosis should consume 1,000 to 2,000 mg of calcium daily, ideally from dietary sources.

The American College of Preventive Medicine and National Osteoporosis Foundation also advocate screening for men aged 70 years or older.