Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease characterized by low bone mass and bone tissue deterioration. As we age, this leads to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures, notably of the hip, spine and wrist. While osteoporosis is most often associated with elderly women, the disease affects men as well. Surprisingly, statistics show that up to 25 percent of men over age 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime. Generally symptomless until an unexpected fracture occurs, few recognize the disease as a significant threat to their mobility and independence.
Bone is in a constant state of change. During childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, more bone is produced than is removed, allowing the bones to grow larger and stronger. When bone mass reaches its maximum strength by the late twenties, men have typically accumulated more bone mass than women. Thereafter, bone strength begins to slowly decline, as the removal of old bone exceeds formation of new bone. Because men have larger skeletons and higher reserves of bone mass, male bone loss begins at a later age and progresses more slowly than it does in females.
Conversely, women have smaller, thinner bones, and experience sharp decreases in bone-protective estrogen in the years following menopause. These rapid hormonal changes together with smaller amounts of bone density make osteoporosis more common in women. As osteoporosis is generally viewed as a “women’s disease,” men may not recognize that certain risk factors and lifestyle habits put both men and women at increased risk.
These risk factors include family history, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and certain medications. Low levels of estrogen and testosterone, which promote bone formation, contribute to the development of osteoporosis in men. Additional risk factors include chronic diseases, prostate cancer and autoimmune disorders. Increased awareness of the potential for men to develop osteoporosis is essential for prevention and long-term health, as regardless of gender, a bone fracture late in life can result in lingering pain and long-term disability.
Prevention begins with healthy lifestyle habits that include a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium, regular weight-bearing exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption. High-impact weight-bearing exercise helps to strengthen bones. This can include sports, such as tennis or basketball, hiking, jogging, stair climbing and jumping rope. Low-impact weight-bearing exercise, such as brisk walking, low-impact aerobics, or using stair-step or elliptical training machines, is also helpful and a safe alternative for those who are unable to participate in high-impact exercise. Weight training and resistance exercise as well as balance and flexibility training are also recommended.
Good for your bones nutrition means enjoying a well-balanced diet rich in fortified foods, calcium-rich dairy, omega-3 fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and colorful fruits and vegetables. Limit alcohol to no more than 2-3 drinks per day, and consume caffeine in moderation, as caffeinated drinks may decrease calcium absorption, contributing to bone loss. Osteoporosis prevention begins in childhood. Those with children or grandchildren can encourage outdoor exercise or sports participation to help build and maintain strong bones into young adulthood and well beyond.
Fall prevention is extremely important, as statistics show that each year about one-third of all people over age 65 take a tumble. Many of these falls result in broken bones.
- Take care to reduce indoor hazards such as clutter, electrical cords, and loose throw rugs.
- Keep walkways and drives clear of debris.
- Use handrails when needed.
- Keep your home well-lit in the evening.
- Tread carefully outdoors.
- Avoid slippery surfaces.
- Consider installing grab bars in the tub, shower or on bathroom walls and use a non-skid rubber mat.
- Most accidents happen when rushing around. Slow down and stay alert and focused.
- Always wear appropriate shoes both indoors and out.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other fine quality products for bone health support:
Calcium Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite 2000 mg by Douglas Laboratories®: This product provides elemental calcium from microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHC), a bioavailable calcium sourced from young bovine bone. Whole bone MCHC is rich in calcium, phosphorus, boron, bone matrix proteins, amino acids, and glycosaminoglycans in their natural forms and physiological ratios. Gluten, wheat, soy, yeast, dairy, sugar and artificial ingredient free.
Foundation Essentials™ Men and Women-No Iron by NuMedica®: These individual packets provide broad spectrum essential support with a powerful blend of four nutritional formulations for enhanced bone and cardiovascular health, healthy detoxification and improved nutrient intake. Ingredients include vitamins, minerals, omega-3 essential fatty acids, CoQ10, botanicals and eye health supportive nutrients. Gluten, wheat, yeast, dairy, sweeteners, and artificial ingredient free.
M.C.H.C Calcium by Priority One®: This product supplies highly absorbable MCHC calcium, which nutritionally supports and promotes healthy bone density. Product provides elemental calcium, vitamin K, phosphorus, boron, glycosaminoglycans, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Gluten, wheat, soy, yeast, sugar, dairy and preservative free.
Osteoporosis in Men. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/osteoporosis-in-men
What Women Need to Know. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/
Just for Men. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/just-for-men/
Osteoporosis in women – and men? https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/osteoporosis-in-women-and-men
Osteoporosis Exercise for Strong Bones. https://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/
Fractures/Fall Prevention. https://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/
Osteoporosis Overview. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview
What Is Osteoporosis? https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis-ff
Ensuring Bone Health for Men. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/preventing-illness/bone-health-for-men
Men With Low Testosterone Often Have Low Bone Density Too. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/846022
What Prostate Cancer Survivors Need to Know About Osteoporosis. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/osteoporosis-prostate-cancer