Among both men and women ages 50 years and older, nearly 44 million have low bone density and an increased risk for a broken bone or fracture. According to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, these fragility-caused or “low trauma” fractures cost the U.S. an estimated $20 billion a year in medical and disability expenses.
Yet current guidelines for bone density (DEXA) exams to screen for osteoporosis (low bone density and weakened bones) only speak to women as past evidence has been deemed insufficient to realize the benefits of such screening for men.
Orthopedic experts are starting to suggest that men be included in these guidelines as well.
- One in five men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
- Men are more likely than women to experience a fracture resulting in a permanent disability or even death.
- Due to a decline in smoking and advancements in treatment for heart disease, men are living longer, thereby leaving them susceptible to broken bones and fractures later on in life.
Bone density screening guidelines for women include:
- All those 65 years or older.
- Any women who have experienced early menopause (before age 40).
- Those with very low body weight.
Experts urge both men and women to be screened for osteoporosis starting at 65 and 70 years respectively, or earlier if certain risk factors exist. Bone density exams should be repeated approximately every two years and/or if health conditions and regular prescription medications have changed.
At Texas Orthopedics, we have capabilities onsite to perform bone density exams which are short, painless outpatient procedures done using X-ray imaging.
Once osteoporosis is diagnosed, medication, supplements, and physical therapy can be effective in strengthening bones and safeguarding against debilitating fractures.
Please contact us to schedule your bone density exam or visit with one of our specialists about osteoporosis concerns.
(Adapted from The New York Times-Well)