Osteoporosis – The Silent Disease

Topics: Aging and Costs of Aging, Lab Tests, Obesity and Weight Loss, Vitamins and Supplements, Wellness and Health

Osteoporosis is thought of as a women’s disease, but osteoporosis in men can be even more dangerous.

Men are at greater risk of complication and death when they fracture their hip than are women: men are twice as likely to die as women after a fracture.

Up to 25% of men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis or because of low bone mass, and about 80,000 men break their hips each year. Bone is constantly changing and old bone is replaced by new bone.  But that’s not the way you want to remodel your bones.

Osteoporosis, courtesy of Health News Updates

As we age though, the rate of change of bone remodeling declines.

Men in their 50s experience less bone loss than women of the same age. Somewhere between the ages of 65 and 70, the playing field is leveled and men lose just as much of their bone density as women, which makes them more prone to debilitating fractures.

This is where healthy weight loss and muscle gain come into play.

Being obese or overweight will put extra stress on your bones, but losing weight rapidly puts you in a position of greater risk for osteoporosis.

When you drop weight rapidly, you lose important minerals and hormones such as testosterone.  A low testosterone level is one culprit behind osteoporosis in men. Too much alcohol, long term steroid use, smoking, and a low vitamin D level are four others.

One way men can increase testosterone levels is by working out. Lifting weights twice a week will help your upper body, and a brisk walk for 30 minutes daily will begin to fortify your hip bones. Not only will exercising build your muscle mass and strength, but it will also help to increase your bone density, which will put you one step closer to preventing osteoporosis.

Changing your diet will also help you lose weight and prevent osteoporosis. I suggest at least 600 IU of Vitamin D3, and up to 1000 (measure your level!)  and no supplement of calcium: you don’t need it if you get enough greens and dairy.

Start with a gradual change in exercise and diet to give you a head start on preventing osteoporosis. See your doctor if you have any questions or want a bone density evaluation: if you have osteoporosis, and you’re over 40 and you’re a man, you need a testosterone level check.