Osteoporosis What Men Need to Know
When you think about Osteoporosis do you think of it as a female problem? A lot of people do, however studies suggest that up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is something everyone needs to be concerned about. It’s caused when the body loses to much bone, doesn’t make enough bone or both. If you could see it up close it would look similar to a honeycomb with large pockets of air occupying space where bone should be.
Osteoporosis is very common in the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that about 54 million Americans either have it or have low bone mass, putting them at increased risk for it. Weaker bones means you have an increased risk for falls and fractures. Even something as ordinary as sneezing can result in a break when your bones are weak.
How Do You Know If You Have Bone Loss?
Fortunately, you don’t need to wait to know if you’re at risk. A bone density test can help diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends men be tested if you…
- …are age 70 or older;
- …break a bone after age 50;
- …are age 50-69 with risk factors
What Can You Do To Support Healthy Bones?
There are lifestyle changes you can make to help support healthy bones.
Exercise and Stay Active Outdoors
Staying active is great for your overall health. Engaging in activities like walking, swimming or lifting weights can help strengthen muscles, improve your overall balance and promote healthy bones. Exercising outdoors can give you the added benefit of time in the sun and vitamin D, which has been shown to help support strong bones!
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
You may already be aware that smoking and drinking negatively impact your health but you may be surprised to learn they can also weaken your bones. Smoking generates free radicals which attack your natural defenses and can also damage cells and hormones involved in keeping your bones healthy. Heavy consumption of alcohol has also been linked to osteoporosis so when you quit smoking and limit or eliminate your consumption of alcohol you’re taking steps toward healthier bones. 
Get Your Daily Requirement of Calcium
Finally getting enough calcium in your diet is one of the best ways to strengthen your bones. Calcium can be found in foods like dairy and leafy green vegetables but most of us don’t eat enough to get the daily requirement from food alone. For most people supplementing calcium along with a healthy diet helps ensure you’re getting the calcium you need each day. The NOF recommends that men younger than 70 get 1000 milligrams and those 71 and older get 1,200 milligrams per day.
Osteoporosis is not just a disease only woman should be concerned about. Men should do all they can to support healthy bones and get tested as recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation to prevent fractures caused by Osteoporosis and weak bones.
Bone Density Exam/Testing – National Osteoporosis Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://www.nof.org/patients/diagnosis-information/bone-density-examtesting/
Stearns, S. (2015). 5 Best Strategies to Reduce Your Risk for Osteoporosis. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://thechrismckayshow.com/2015/05/reduce-your-risk-for-osteoporosis/