Suboptimal osteoporosis evaluation and treatment in older men with and without additional high-risk factors for fractures

J Investig Med. 2019 Apr;67(4):743-749. doi: 10.1136/jim-2018-000907. Epub 2019 Feb 5.


We compared osteoporosis case-finding, evaluation and treatment in groups of Older Men and Older Women with age alone as a significant risk for fracture and Older Men with Higher Risk (older men additionally having previous hip fracture, corticosteroid use or androgen deprivation therapy). We studied 13,704 older men and women (≥70 years old) receiving care at a Veterans Affairs medical center from January 2000 to August 2010 whose 10-year hip fracture risk was assessed by limited FRAX score. The main outcome measures were the proportion of patients who had bone mineral density (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry [DXA]) and serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OH D) measurements performed, and calcium/vitamin D or bisphosphonates prescribed. The proportion of men with a 10-year hip fracture risk ≥3% with age alone as a risk was 48% and 88% in men aged 75-79 and ≥80 years, respectively. Compared with Older Women, fewer Older Men underwent DXA (12% vs 63%, respectively) and 25-OH D measurements (18% vs 39%), and fewer received calcium/vitamin D (20% vs 63%) and bisphosphonate (5% vs 44%) prescriptions. In Older Men with Higher Risk category, the proportion of men with 10-year hip fracture risk ≥3% ranged from 69% to 95%. Despite a higher risk and expectation that this group would have greater case detection and screening, few Older Men with Higher risk underwent DXA screening (27%-36%) and 25-OH D measurements (23%-28%), and received fewer calcium/vitamin D (40%-50%) and bisphosphonate (13%-24%) prescriptions. Considering the known morbidity and mortality, our findings underscore the need for improved evaluation and management of osteoporosis in older men at high risk for fracture.

Keywords: FRAX; bone densitometry; delivery of health care; fracture risk; osteoporosis; quality of health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / epidemiology*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / etiology*
  • Risk Factors