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Health group warns men of increasing osteoporosis risk

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Contrary to the popular belief that osteoporosis only affects women when they reach menopause, the International Osteoporosis Foundation released a new study suggesting that men are more prone to the progressive disease when they hit the 50-year mark.

There are approximately 2 million men who are 50 years old or older in Taiwan, and the study results show as many as 57 percent suffer from low bone mass. The study also suggests that if 96 out of every 100,000 men have fractured hip joints, there are over 23,000 people with the same problem each year.

According to the study, one out of every five men dies within a year after fracturing his hip joint. The death rate is 7 percent higher than for women with fractured hip joints.

In the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan in 2008, the government discovered that 23 percent of men over 50 years old have osteoporosis, which is a threat to the ever-growing male population.

Lukang Christian Hospital Superintendent Tu Shih-te (杜思德) noted that Taiwan has the highest number of fractured hip joints among all nations in Asia, and ranks number nine in the world. Most men tend to overlook the symptoms of osteoporosis, and due to the fact that more men than women work outdoors, the risk of death by fractured hip joints are higher than for women as well.

Elderly men are 7.85-times more likely to die within three months after fracturing a hip joint than the others without the injury; men also lose bone mass at a rate of 1 percent each year, as they are often deficient in Vitamin D and calcium, said Tu.

Both men and women should take care to consume enough calcium and Vitamin D, head outdoors for more sun and avoid smoking and drinking, said Tu, who added that exercise is also crucial to bone health.

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