New test can detect osteoporosis in men and women

Nine million women in the United States have osteoporosis, a loss of calcium in the bones that makes them brittle and susceptible to fracture.

Although we think of osteoporosis as a women’s disease, sometimes linked to menopause, men can get it too.

Now, there is a new way to figure out if you are in danger of developing it.

From bone density tests at the doctor’s office, to daily walks to make him stronger, Luciano Blanco has made some big changes ever since he got a surprising diagnosis.

Blanco says, "I thought my bones were perfect, and they were not…was unbelievable."

Most of what we see and hear about osteoporosis focuses on women, but men are at risk too.

Rheumatologist Dr. Sanford Baim says, "Osteoporosis is a silent disease until you fracture, but again even after a fracture, men are not identified as having osteoporosis."

Three million men in the United States have osteoporosis. Many more go undiagnosed. One-third of all hip fractures occur in men.

Dr. Silvina Levis says, "Once a man fractures a hip, he has double the risk of dying after that hip fracture than a woman does."

Male or female, this online tool called the FRAX algorithm can predict your future risk of osteoporosis.

Answer some questions about you and your medical history, then hit calculate.

Dr. Baim says, "It absolutely then calculates your ten year risk for any major osteoporosis fracture and hip fractures

If your ten year risk of major fracture is over 20%, or over 3% for hip fracture, talk to your doctor.

With daily walks, medication and calcium supplements, Mr. Blanco’s bones are getting stronger.

He says, "So, I hope I can still go on for some time."

A smart 79-year-old taking steps to protect his bones and his health.

The FRAX osteoporosis risk tool was developed by the World Health Organization.

It is most accurate for men and women between forty and ninety years old, but anyone can take the online test.


BACKGROUND: Osteoporosis or "porous bone" is a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. Osteoporosis leads to an increased risk of bone fractures typically in the wrist, hip, and spine. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, it's estimated that about half of all women older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Up to one in four men will too. By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately three million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs each year. (Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation)

WHAT MEN NEED TO KNOW: Even though women are at greater risk for getting osteoporosis, as our population ages, more men will get it too. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates about 80,000 men break a hip each year, and they are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. There are several factors that can put men at risk for getting osteoporosis including: family history, taking steroid medications, not exercising, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or having low testosterone levels.
The prevalence of osteoporosis is estimated to be seven percent of white men, five percent of African American men, and three percent of Hispanic men. These figures are expected to grow as the population ages within the next 15 years.

NEW GUIDELINES: The American College of Physicians has issued new guidelines to bring awareness to osteoporosis screening in older men:

* Clinicians should periodically assess older men for risk of osteoporosis.
* Clinicians should obtain DXA tests for men who are at an increased risk for osteoporosis and candidates for medication treatment. The DXA test (dual-energy X-ray absorptiomerty) measures bone density.
* More research is recommended to assess screening tests for osteoporosis in men.

For More Information, Contact:

Omar Montejo/Media Relations
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

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