For a long time osteoporosis has been considered primarily a disease of postmenopausal women. This is not true! It possibly was true when the average age expectancy of men was much lower than it is today. In fact, the life expectancy of men is now increasing at a faster rate than that of women. It is a sobering fact though, that men have about twice the 1-year fatality rate after hip fracture, compared to women. 1 So men! Take notice! You are at risk!
Men are at risk of the ‘silent’ aspect of the disease anywhere from 50 years of age onwards and seems to be primarily related to a drop in the hormone testosterone. A significant lowering of testosterone tends to occur at around the age of 65 when the rate of bone loss is equal to or sometimes greater than the average loss in women. The consequences are often greater as the first sign in men is usually a fragility fracture. Clinical risk factors are often not detected early enough for adequate intervention. One reason of course is that many men don’t go to the doctor unless they really have to – like when they have fallen and sustained a fracture!
Have you already had a fragility fracture?
Have you been on glucocorticoids for an extended period? These include drugs such as cortisone, betamethasone, dexamethasone prednisolone.
Have you had prostate cancer and removal of your prostate gland?
Have you been prescribed androgen derivative therapy for prostate cancer?
Do you have low levels of testosterone before the age of 65 for undiagnosed reasons? Certain chronic diseases can affect hormone levels over time.
If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions you have a high risk of a fragility fracture related to osteoporosis. If you have not discussed this with your doctor – do so!
Additional risk factors.
- Lean body weight
- Dietary factors such as poor diet and excessive alcohol intake with inadequate vitamin D, Calcium and magnesium for example
- A prolonged sedentary lifestyle with little exercise
- Caucasian men seem to have a higher risk
- A genetic predisposition (both parents had osteoporosis)
- Just getting older!
How can you be more proactive in managing osteoporosis?
Firstly, read our osteoporosis related articles as much of the information relates to men as much as women. The posts are designed to be easy reading and not full of medical jargon. There is also a guide to help you better understand your bone density test results.
Talk to your health professional, preferably one who understands osteoporosis, if you have any concerns related to the risk factors listed above.
Actively reduce your risks associated with poor diet, excessive alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle.
Additional material & information.
Osteoporosis in Men (Article)
1. Osteoporosis in men: a review. Robert A Adler. Bone Research. Published online 2014 Apr 29. [Link]