Health tip – Osteoporosis in men, by Dr. K.K. Aggarwal

Most think of osteoporosis (loss of bone mass and density) as a disease of older women. It is true that it is more common in women but men are not immune. Most men are living long enough to end up with age–related osteoporosis. Osteoporosis starts earlier and gets worse faster in women because of hormonal shifts, but at age 65, both sexes lose bone at the same rate.

The main fear of osteoporosis is a broken bone. 25% men over 50 years will have an osteoporosis–related fracture some time in his life. A broken bone can end up with lingering pain, loss of mobility, long-term disability, and loss of independence.

Osteoporosis is associated with some male-only conditions.

1. Abnormally low testosterone levels.

2. Psoriasis effect both women and men but is linked to loss of bone density in men only.

3. Androgen deprivation therapy, used to treat advanced prostate cancer, involves drugs that interfere with testosterone.

Some drugs affect bones in both sexes. Long–term cortisone therapy can diminish bone mass. The proton–pump inhibitors and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants too, may contribute to bone loss. Lifestyle and health habits are also a major factor in osteoporotic risk, for both men and women. Smoking and heavy alcoholic drinking weaken bones.

Men are more likely than women to engage in those behaviors. Keeping bones strong is yet another reason to exercise.

Vitamin D is important for bone health. We should be getting at least 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, especially during winter.

The recommendations of calcium intake for men are unclear. There is an association between long–term daily calcium intake at levels of 1,500 mg and a greater risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. On the other hand, there’s a string of results that suggest the mineral may lower colon cancer risk.

Daily calcium recommendation is at 700 mg, which most men should be consuming. For men at risk of osteoporosis, the right balance may be about 700 mg – 1,000 mg, which can be achieved with a normal diet that includes one to two servings of dairy products, and plenty of vitamin D, which usually means taking the vitamin in pill form.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri & Dr B C Roy National Awardee
Chief Editor ‘e medinews’

Published in DREAMS – e – homoeo, issue 26
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