Osteoporosis in men

Endocr Rev. 2008 Jun;29(4):441-64. doi: 10.1210/er.2008-0002. Epub 2008 May 1.


With the aging of the population, there is a growing recognition that osteoporosis and fractures in men are a significant public health problem, and both hip and vertebral fractures are associated with increased morbidity and mortality in men. Osteoporosis in men is a heterogeneous clinical entity: whereas most men experience bone loss with aging, some men develop osteoporosis at a relatively young age, often for unexplained reasons (idiopathic osteoporosis). Declining sex steroid levels and other hormonal changes likely contribute to age-related bone loss, as do impairments in osteoblast number and/or activity. Secondary causes of osteoporosis also play a significant role in pathogenesis. Although there is ongoing controversy regarding whether osteoporosis in men should be diagnosed based on female- or male-specific reference ranges (because some evidence indicates that the risk of fracture is similar in women and men for a given level of bone mineral density), a diagnosis of osteoporosis in men is generally made based on male-specific reference ranges. Treatment consists both of nonpharmacological (lifestyle factors, calcium and vitamin D supplementation) and pharmacological (most commonly bisphosphonates or PTH) approaches, with efficacy similar to that seen in women. Increasing awareness of osteoporosis in men among physicians and the lay public is critical for the prevention of fractures in our aging male population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Osteoporosis / therapy


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents