This accounts for 2 million men who suffer osteoporosis in the United States, said researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMBG), whose report was published in the December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
When women reach a certain age, usually 50, their doctors routinely test their bones for signs of osteoporosis. Although men suffer from thinning bones as well, they rarely worry about the condition -- and their doctors rarely test for it.
"This is just not on the radar screen," said Dr. Angela Shepherd, a professor at the UTMBG.
Shepherd and her colleagues recently used data from nearly 3,000 men to devise a questionnaire that can identify men at risk for osteoporosis. Men or their doctors can use the questionnaire, which gives patients points for advanced age, low weight and a history of lung disease. Those who score six or more points are recommended for X-ray tests that can diagnose osteoporosis.
Doctors don't fully understand why men's bones deteriorate. In women, osteoporosis is associated with menopause, when the body stops producing the high levels of estrogen that protect bones. Men often aren't diagnosed until they break a bone.
Though the causes aren't always clear in men, the basic progression of the disease is the same as in women, according to the study.
The body is continually dismantling and rebuilding bones, but after about the age of 30, the loss rate starts to outpace the growth rate. If enough bones are lost, it causes osteoporosis, which affects mostly older people. Genes, lifestyle and medical history all play a role in how many bones a person will lose.
Men, who start with bigger, stronger bones, usually get osteoporosis at a later age than women. Patients, male and female, are particularly likely to fracture a hip, spine or wrist, often with life-altering consequences.
To identify the most important risk factors, the researchers used the government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included bone scans and other information for nearly 3,000 men aged 50 and older. Using data from half of the men, they searched for traits that went along with osteoporosis and identified age, weight and a history of chronic bronchitis and emphysema as the most important.
They focused on lung disease instead of smoking as a risk factor because some people might not be honest about tobacco use.
Then the scientists used the other half of the men in the survey to test their screening tool. Of the men who scored six points or higher, 10 percent had osteoporosis.
Many men who scored high didn't have osteoporosis but had thinning bones that could eventually lead to disease. Of those men who scored less than six, fewer than 1 percent had osteoporosis, so the test effectively ruled out men not at risk.
"This is preliminary, but it's exciting," Shepherd said. If the screen works in the clinic as well as it did with the survey data, it could allow doctors to identify cheaply and quickly men whose bones are at risk. Those men, once tested for osteoporosis, could benefit from treatment or changing their habits, she said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Aralık 2007, 16:34