When you hear the word ‘osteoporosis’ do you think of post-menopausal women? While it is true that this is something that women are concerned about, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation about one in four men over the age of 50 years will fracture or break a bone because they have developed osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
Over time tissues in the bones, which are made up of minerals such as calcium, break down and are slowly replaced by a natural process called bone turnover. This is how your bones grow and become strong from the time you are an infant to an adult. When osteoporosis occurs, however, the tissues break down at a faster rate than they are replaced, resulting in loss of bone strength and bone mass. When this happens bones become brittle and more likely to break.
Osteoporosis usually affects the spine, hips, ribs and wrists, most commonly.
How can a man avoid osteoporosis?
One way to reduce your risk of bone fractures is to make sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet. This doesn’t mean just eating dairy product. Many food products have a healthy amount of calcium, such as kale, spinach, tofu, and fortified dairy products like milk.
Ensuring you have enough Vitamin D in your diet is also important. Foods high in vitamin D include sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and mushrooms. Talk to your doctor about how much vitamin D you should take as a supplement.
Committing to a healthy amount of regular weight bearing exercise, even as simple as a daily walk, can also go a long way in slowing down bone loss.
You should know that some medications, such as steroids for rheumatoid arthritis and androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer treatment, and some other medications, may increase a man’s risk for osteoporosis. The Arthritis Foundation states that those who take antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Men who have lower testosterone levels are also at risk for osteoporosis. If you are taking hormone replacement therapy for low testosterone, speak to your doctor and pharmacist about what your risk may be.
It is always a good idea for men over the age of 50 to speak to their doctor about their risk for osteoporosis.
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This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).