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Home > Osteoporosis

Men & Osteoporosis



Men and Osteoporosis People often think that osteoporosis happens only to women, but that is not true. This disease also strikes men and can be a major health problem for them. In fact, 1 in every 8 men over age 50 will suffer a bone fracture from osteoporosis. The likelihood of a hip fracture increases with age because the elderly tend to fall more often. And men are much more likely than women to die after a hip fracture.
Man biking
Men can experience significant bone loss as they age, and this can lead to osteoporosis. There are several reasons that men lose bone as they age: declining levels of hormones, being less physically active, and eating less calcium may cause bone loss. Also, as men age, their bodies may not be able to absorb calcium well. After age 51, all adults need at least 1200 milligrams of calcium daily. The National Osteoporosis Foundation supports even higher intake of 1500 milligrams of calcium per day for adults 65 and older.

Osteoporosis is less common in men than in women for several reasons. Men tend to have larger skeletons, their nomal bone loss starts later in life and progresses more slowly, and they don't have the rapid bone loss that women may experience during menopause. But despite these differences, men can be at high risk for this disease.

The following factors may put men at risk of developing osteoporosis:
unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of physical activity, prostate cancer, and low body weight. In addition, certain disorders or conditions such as thyroid, hormone, or liver problems, or steroid therapy can cause low bone density. Young men who have these disorders can develop the disease.

One medication, alendronate (also known as Fosomax), was just recently approved for treatment of osteoporosis in men. Treatments such as calcitonin and hormone therapy are under investigation for men with osteoporosis. Until more is known about the disease and how it can be treated in men, preventing bone loss and fractures is of primary importance.

Men can keep their bones healthy and lower their risk for osteoporosis with a healthy lifestyle. This includes a diet high in calcium and vitamin D, daily weight-bearing exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol. As men age, it is also important to prevent falls.

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The University of Arizona College of Public Health / The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
The University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences / Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
The University of Arizona Dept of Nutritional Sciences /
Arizona Osteoporosis Coalition

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