UK has lowest awareness of men's osteoporosis risk

A new survey has revealed a lack of awareness, especially in the UK, when it comes to men suffering from osteoporosis. 

In total, 90% of men surveyed were unaware how common osteoporotic fractures are in males.

The figures, which were released on World Osteoporosis Day by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), showed that the UK had the lowest levels of awareness.

Of the 13,000 people questioned in 12 countries, 71% of those aged over 50, which is the population group most affected by the disease, underestimated the risk of osteoporosis in men.

Real figures

Osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break, actually affects one in five men over 50.

There are about 300,000 fragility fractures every year in the UK with 1,150 people dying every month in the UK as a result of hip fractures, according to National Osteoporosis Society figures.

An average of 53% of male respondents aged over 50 who had visited a doctor for a routine physical check-up said that they had never had any form of bone assessment during a check-up.


The multi-national survey, carried out in adults from 12 countries, showed that ignorance of the level of damage was universal and independent of gender or geography.

Only 8% of men, compared to 10% of women, aged 50+ correctly estimated that osteoporotic fractures affect approximately one in five men worldwide - when the results of all countries were averaged.

UK had the lowest level of awareness with only 3% answering correctly, followed by Belgium with 6%. China and Mexico both saw nearly one in five answering correctly.

Check ups

Professor John Kanis, President of the IOF said that by not knowing their risk, men are leaving themselves vulnerable to a future of pain, disability and possibly early death.

He also believes that the problem is being made worse by doctors not addressing the bone health of their patients during routine check-ups.

According to the survey, men in the 50 plus age group who had had a check-up were 18% less likely than women of the same age to have any form of bone health assessment.

Identifying and treating patients at risk of fracture, but who have not yet sustained a fracture, can substantially reduce the long term burden of osteoporosis, according to the IOF.

In fact, if you are able to reduce the risk of first fracture from 8% to 2%, this would reduce the chance of another fracture within five-years from approximately 34% to 10%. 

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