By Jill Poser, Director of Life Care Planning
If you think you cannot get osteoporosis because you are a man, think again! Although women are at greater risk for the disease, men get osteoporosis too and as our population ages; unfortunately, even more men will get the disease. It is upwards of 14 million American men with this condition, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Here are some of the sobering facts and statistics:
- Approximately one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
- Roughly two million American men are diagnosed with osteoporosis; 12 million more are at risk and not yet diagnosed.
- It is more likely that men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
- Yearly, about 80,000 men will break a hip and are more likely than women to die within one year after the break; all due to break related issues.
- Typically men who break a hip or bones in the spine are older than their women counterparts.
How are Men at Risk?
As we age, we lose bone density. Simply, the development of new bone material, known as ossification, slows as we age and it knows no gender. We lose bone density at the same rate, male or female, and by age 60 to 70 the process is well underway. Many of the same risk factors effecting women for osteoporosis apply to men as well; family history, steroid medications, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or even low testosterone levels can put you at risk for getting the disease.
Evidence further implies that low estrogen levels in men can lead to bone loss, as well as other medical issues such as chronic kidney, prostate cancer, lung or gastrointestinal disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) a particular type of autoimmune disorder.
Having Healthy Bones and Preventing Osteoporosis
- Get the right amount of calcium and vitamin D you need daily through the foods we eat, vitamins and supplements.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise…including regular routines that integrate weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
- DO NOT SMOKE – DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL.
- Visit with your doctor and learn what your chances are of getting osteoporosis and when it is the right time to have a screening; especially if there is a family history on either side of the family for osteoporosis.
- Take medication specific to osteoporosis when it is right for you.
If you have any of the risk factors above, or you are not certain, it is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider. Remember, the condition is treatable if properly diagnosed in a timely manner because you want to be safe, not sorry.
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