Osteoporosis is often thought of as an ailment affecting only women. But osteoporosis in men is not at all uncommon. In fact, one in five osteoporosis sufferers is male.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that results in thinner – less dense – bone mass that can leave bones brittle and fragile. Osteopenia, the medical term for low bone density, affects as many as twelve million American men. This diminished bone density is what causes an increased risk of fracture and pain.
Since four times as many women suffer from osteoporosis, there is more research and options available that deal directly with the problem in females who often suffer osteoporosis after menopause. In men, however, osteoporosis is usually seen as a symptom of something else – something hormonal.
What Causes Osteoporosis in Men?
A number of factors may contribute to osteoporosis in men. Speak with your doctor if you have questions or suspect any of these conditions.
1. Low Testosterone
Testosterone deficiency is the single most prevalent cause of osteoporosis in men. Testosterone replacement has been shown to help build bone mass, though science has not yet identified specifically how that process works.
2. Low Calcium or Vitamin D
Remember when you were a kid and needed calcium and vitamin D for strong bones? Well, you still do. Bones are not static, inanimate objects. They are living growing matter that is continually cleaned out and rebuilt – and that process still requires calcium and vitamin D.
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
Your bones are smarter than you think and they’re watching you. Because they are efficient, they will not overbuild bone mass to support work you’re not doing! When a muscle either pushes or pulls, the bone gets stronger. With less exercise, you literally reduce bone renewal and development.
Discuss all your medications with your doctor because there are many that can interfere with healthy bones. However, three main categories of drugs are well known for their negative effect on bone health.
Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatories that reduce the body’s immune response have been shown to stop bone growth entirely and to accelerate bone loss. GnRH agonists taken for the treatment of prostate cancer can also lead to lower bone density and a higher incidence of fractures. And antiseizure medications have also been associated with bone loss especially in men taking them on a long-term basis.
5. Medical Conditions
There is no shortage of diseases that contribute to bone loss. Cystic fibrosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain digestive disorders have all been linked to reduced bone density and eventual bone loss.
Nicotine has a direct effect on bone cells. Smokers have a stunning 55% greater risk of hip fracture than nonsmokers. One more reason the cigarettes have to go.
RELATED: Benefits of Preventive Health Care
Lifestyle Treatments for Osteoporosis
Anyone concerned about their bone health can also estimate your risk of osteoporosis by checking the risk factors and changing the ones you control like smoking and alcohol consumption.
For otherwise healthy individuals, getting enough calcium is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your bone health.
Next, be sure to get plenty of sensible exercises. Men of osteoporosis age should be sure to get a good cardio workout regularly and should lift only light weights to maintain muscle tone without damaging the joints.
Medical Treatments for Osteoporosis
Many doctors determine treatment for osteoporosis based on your ten-year risk of a fracture which is computed based on a bone density test. Since one in every four men will break at least one bone from osteoporosis, err on the side of caution to avoid this common problem.
If your risk is low, your doctor may not prescribe medications. It is also important to understand that medications are unlikely to overcome a bone health scenario of total sabotage so eliminate smoking and get plenty of calcium before considering prescription drugs.
Bisphosphonates are the most widely prescribed medication for osteoporosis. These drugs work by coordinating calcium ions. In the human body, calcium is stored primarily in the bones, so bisphosphonates accumulate to a high concentration in the bone. There, they attach to and enter osteoclasts where they catalyze the process of replacing the aged bone with new healthy bone mass.
There is a lot to think about – we understand. If you have questions about osteoporosis or any of the conditions discussed here, connecting with a doctor in a discrete setting has never been easier.
Opt Health is a telehealth platform that reconnects men with wellness, fitness, strength, and sexual vitality through scientific preventive medicine. From your own home, you can schedule with a physician, meet one-on-one via video conference, receive test results, and have medications delivered to your door.
For questions, inquiries, or appointments, don’t hesitate to contact us. Get personalized support and insight from top-tier physicians available 24/7.