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Men told to watch their step -- consequences of the failure to treat osteoporosis

Leading study author, Dr Jackie Center says: "While women are initially twice as likely as men to have a fracture, once the first break occurs, the risk of a second substantially increases and the protective effects of being male disappear altogether."

"Anyone, a man or a woman, over 50 years of age, with a fracture of any kind resulting from minimal injury, such as a slip on the pavement, needs to be investigated and treated for osteoporosis, because there are good treatments available and these can halve the likelihood of a subsequent fracture", added Dr Center.

Currently, the majority of postmenopausal women and older men who have a fracture fail to get proper treatment that could help prevent a subsequent fracture. Part of the problem lies in getting other clinicians and the public to make the link between having a fracture and osteoporosis.

"Our new research shows that once men and women have had a fracture, the chances of either having a second break are not only much higher, but they are equivalent; thus, the common public perception that osteoporosis affects mainly elderly women is misconceived," says co-author and clinician Professor John Eisman, who heads Garvan's Bone & Mineral Research Program.

Osteoporosis affects more than two million Australians. Economic consultancy Access Economics estimates the total cost to Australia, which includes factors such as carers and lost income, to be $7 billion per year, i.e. almost $20 million every day. Aside from these financial costs, fractures often affect mobility, are linkedn to depression and loss of confidence in older people, and increase the risk of dying prematurely, more so in men.

Dr. Branwen Morgan | EurekAlert!
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