Male osteoporosis

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: August 30th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

According to a recent Surgeon General report, by the year 2020, half of all Americans over age fifty could be at risk for bone fractures from osteoporosis and low bone density But women aren’t the only ones who need to heed the warning. The bone disease is on the rise in men as longevity increases.

Doctors say osteoporosis surfaces in many men just as they reach their retirement years. In fact, one-and-a-half million men over age sixty-five have brittle bones, and another three-and-a-half million are at risk.

The loss of two hormones in men testosterone and estrogen are equally to blame for diminishing bone strength. Osteoporosis increases the possibility of fractures and can lead to pain and decreased mobility. And although men experience only a third of the vertebral [ver-tee-brahl] or hip fractures as women, those who do are more likely to die after the injury than their female counterparts.

While doctors are on the lookout for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, there are no specific recommendations to test for bone health in men. Experts advise men to engage in weight-bearing exercise and increase calcium and vitamin D intake. And at-risk men should have bone density scans. There are also drugs, just like those used in women, that can prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

And because our bodies stop building bone around age thirty, experts say that even children and young adults should take action exercising and eating a healthy diet to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later years.