Low Testosterone Could Weaken Older Men's Bones

Study finds link between hormone, fracture in males over 60

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MONDAY, Jan. 14, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Low testosterone levels may boost the risk of fractures for men over 60, an Australian study finds.

The researchers tracked 609 men (average age 72.6) between 1989 and late 2005.

The University of Sydney researchers collected information about the men's bone mineral density, lifestyle habits, and blood levels of testosterone and estradiol (an estrogen).

During the study period, 113 men suffered low-trauma fractures (caused by a fall from standing height or lower). Of those men, 25 suffered multiple fractures.

There were a total of 149 fractures, including 55 vertebral, 27 hip, 28 rib, six wrist and 16 upper- and 17 lower-extremity fractures.

The risk of fracture was much higher among men with low testosterone levels, the team found.

Even after adjusting for a variety of potential risk factors, low blood levels of the two hormones "were associated with overall fracture risk," the study authors concluded. Fracture risk was associated "particularly with hip and non-vertebral fractures," they noted.

The findings are published in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

"While testosterone may affect fracture risk via skeletal and non-skeletal mechanisms, the present findings suggest that measurement of [blood] testosterone provides additional clinical information for the assessment of fracture risk in elderly men," the researchers wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about falls and fractures.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Jan. 14, 2008

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