What are some of the risk factors for osteoporosis in men?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
The risk factors for osteoporosis that are particularly relevant to men include the following:
Medications. Glucocorticoid use is one of the most common causes of secondary osteoporosis. Androgen deprivation therapy used to treat prostate cancer, anticonvulsants, some drugs given to organ transplant patients, and certain cancer drugs also increase risk.
Low sex hormones. Men produce both estrogen and testosterone. Experts believe that age-related declines in testosterone levels may cause bone loss. Men's estrogen levels also may fall with age, and there is evidence that this may be as significant as declines in testosterone, if not more so. A study involving 793 men found that the men who had low levels of both testosterone and estrogen had the greatest risk of breaking a hip. The researchers noted that the men with only low testosterone didn't appear to have a higher risk of hip fracture.
Heavy alcohol use. Heavy drinking can damage bone health by reducing bone mass. In addition, alcohol interferes with balance, making falls more likely.
Gastrectomy. This operation -- in which part or all of the stomach is removed -- can reduce the amount of calcium the body absorbs.
Medical conditions. Certain disorders can damage bone health.
Other factors. The following factors place men at greater risk of developing osteoporosis: heredity, aging, inactivity, smoking, low calcium levels, and ethnicity.

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