Losing Hair and Bone: Osteoporosis in Men

By Age 70 Men Lose Bone Mass at the Same Rate as Women

Valerie Serre, PharmD, PhD

Aging of the population is associated with the rising incidence of age-related conditions such as osteoporosis. In the US, as many as 41 million people could develop osteoporosis by 2015. Osteoporosis is a progressive microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue, which induces skeletal fragility predisposing bone to fracture. This disease is mostly known to affect postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis in men has sparked interest because of the worrisome finding that 20% of people with osteoporosis are men. Men reach peak bone mass in their late 20s. The decline in bone mass becomes apparent in men in their 40s and by the age of 70 both men and women display an identical rate of bone loss. If left untreated, osteoporosis brings about complications such as pain, decreased quality of life, dependence, and fractures. These fractures are located mainly at the hip, vertebral wedge and wrist and are often associated with mortality. The dollar cost of this silent epidemic is enormous (over 10 billion US dollars per year in the United States), and it is likely to increase exponentially in the near future.

A Fragile Future for Men