Osteoporosis in Men
What is osteoporosis?
is the loss of bone density and strength.
Though it is most often thought of as a
woman's disease, men also get osteoporosis.
The condition increases your risk of
breaking bones if you fall or have a minor
usually occurs in women after menopause,
when their bodies produce much less of the
sex hormone estrogen. Estrogen helps a
woman's bones stay strong. Without any
therapy, bone loss occurs at a faster rate
after menopause. In the 45-55 years old age
group, women are 6 times more likely than
men to develop osteoporosis.
both men and women approach their mid to
late 70s, bone loss due to aging occurs.
Thereafter, in older adults, women are only
twice as likely as men to have osteoporosis.
How does it occur?
adults, bones continue to grow, reaching
their greatest strength around ages 30 to
35. After that, a slow decline in bone
strength occurs over many years. The two
main causes of osteoporosis are decreased
estrogen and aging.
The bones of
young boys and teenagers who aren't
physically active and don't get enough
calcium in their diet are probably not as
strong as they should otherwise be. If bones
do not become as strong as possible, there
is less bone reserve, leaving you more
likely to develop osteoporosis as you age.
In the U.S. today, only 1 in 4 school-aged
boys gets enough calcium in his diet.
conditions and medications can also cause
osteoporosis and can worsen age-related bone
that can result in osteoporosis include:
hypogonadism (loss of male sex hormone)
hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid
congestive heart failure
chronic kidney failure.
associated with osteoporosis include:
corticosteroids (steroids), when used
over long periods of time for conditions
such as chronic inflammatory bowel
disease or chronic lung disease
antacids that contain aluminum, when
used daily for a long time
seizure medication taken long-term.
Consult with your physicians to find out
other medications that may be associated
also affects bone health. In addition to
poor diet and exercise habits, heavy smoking
and drinking can contribute to bone loss
What are the
usually no symptoms until a bone breaks more
easily than it ordinarily should. You may
break a bone in your spine just by coughing
or sneezing, for example. A simple slip and
fall may fracture a wrist, hip, or both.
How is it
if moderate to severe, can be seen on a
regular x-ray. Ultrasound tests may also be
used for diagnosis. Bone mineral density can
be measured using x-rays with a special test
called a DEXA scan. Blood tests can show if
your level of the male sex hormone
testosterone is low.
How is it treated?
For both men
and women, it is important to get enough
calcium and vitamin D. The recommended daily
dose of calcium for men under 65 is 1,000
mg; 1,500 mg daily for those 65 and older.
Doses may change also if you are taking
medicines to treat osteoporosis. Calcium is
found naturally in foods such as milk,
yogurt, and cheese. It can also be taken as
a dietary supplement. The recommended daily
dose of vitamin D, which helps your body
absorb and use calcium, is 400 to 600 IUs.
Vitamin D is typically found in most
multivitamins in the recommended doses.
medicines that can be used to prevent and
treat osteoporosis, but only take them if
prescribed by a physician. You may be given
a hormone if tests show your hormone level
Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking,
stair climbing, team sports, and weight
lifting, also helps keep your bones strong.
Doing physical activity every day, eating
healthier, and stopping smoking may keep
your bones from getting weaker and might
How long will the
The risk of a
broken bone resulting from osteoporosis
increases with age.
How can I take
care of myself?
treatment advised by your health care
provider. In addition, you can:
smoking. Smokers may absorb less calcium
from their diet.
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 2
ounces of hard liquor, two 12-oz
servings of beer, or two 4-oz glasses of
Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and
carbonated soft drinks
weight-bearing exercise. Walking or
lifting lightweights is especially good.
Ask your health care provider if there
are any limits on your exercising.
a healthful diet that includes dairy
products and plenty of fruits and
prevent falls and possible broken bones
around the house:
shoes that provide solid support (such
as running/walking shoes)
down and rest when you are tired
rid of throw rugs
areas where you will be walking well lit
carefully clean up spills on the floor
bathmats or shower mats in the tub or
cautious about going outdoors when roads
and sidewalks are icy or wet.
If you are on
medication to treat your osteoporosis, be
sure to take it as directed. For example,
some medications should be taken in the
morning on an empty stomach, and you should
remain upright for at least a half hour
after taking them.
What can be done
to prevent osteoporosis?
children and teenagers to get plenty of
exercise and to eat a well-balanced diet
that includes calcium-rich foods. One way to
help prevent osteoporosis is to do
everything possible to encourage peak bone
growth before age 35.
For men over
age 35, be sure to continue to exercise. Get
enough calcium and vitamin D daily, whether
from foods you eat or dietary supplements.
Get regular weight-bearing exercise, don't
smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation.
June Belt-Marchesi, RN, MSN, for iMcKesson
Clinical Reference Products
Published by iMcKesson Clinical Reference
Copyright © 1995-2000 iMcKesson LLC. All
Adapted from content provided
by iMcKesson, LLC
Review Date: 6/12/2001