Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures. While there is a belief that osteoporosis is a “women’s disease,” more than two million American men have osteoporosis with 12 million more at risk. Osteoporosis is significantly under diagnosed and undertreated in men. Osteoporosis in men is expected to increase nearly 50 percent in the next 15 years. One third of men over the age of 50 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis, and men are twice as likely to die after a hip fracture than a woman. The National Osteoporosis Foundation has not established a standard screening procedure for men before age 70. In 2008, the American College of Physicians issued new clinical guidelines that recommended performing individualized risk assessment to determine who should be screened. Testing is critical. In my practice, 63 percent of men screened over the age of 45 had osteopenia, the early stage of bone loss, and 12 percent had osteoporosis.
What can men do to offset their risk for osteoporosis?
- Get enough Vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin C and Vitamin B
- Eat calcium-rich foods or take calcium pills
- Eat adequate protein
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Don’t smoke
- Regularly perform weight-bearing, resistance Exercise
- Check your medications – some medications are hard on bone density
- Get tested – Osteoporosis is a preventable disease, but there are no symptoms. Testing is critical.