Men's Health

Men and Osteoporosis

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Key Takeaways

  • Osteoporosis in men is often ignored, untreated and undiagnosed. 
  • Normal bone density is +2.5 or -2.5.
  • Bones are in a continuous state of renewal. 

Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease in which bones density (normal value: within a range of 1SD i.e+1 or -1) is lower than normal. Normal bone density is +2.5 or -2.5. The bone become porous, fragile, brittle and weak which makes them more prone to fracture. The most common bones to be fractured are hip bone and vertebral bones. Although studies have shown that women are at higher risk of osteoporosis due to hormonal imbalances, menopause, skeleton structure etc., man can have osteoporosis too. In most of the cases osteoporosis in men is ignored, untreated and undiagnosed. 

 What are the causes of osteoporosis in men?

  • Testosterone deficiency: Testosterone is converted to estrogen. Estrogen preserves the bone density in both men and women.
  • Vitamin D or Calcium deficiency
  • Lack of workout/exercise: Doctors recommend regular work out, walks and exercise for healthy bones.
  • Medications like corticosteroids, anti-seizure drugs, and anti-cancer drugs for the prostate. These drugs decrease the bone density. Prednisolone which is a corticosteroid drug when taken up to 7.5g can stop the new bone growth.
  • Medical Conditions like Cystic Fibrosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Blood and digestive disorders, etc. Some of these are genetic diseases. If suffering from such disease and taking medications from a long time then good diet plan and regular exercise are necessary.
  • Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol: According to a research 55% smokers are at high risk of hip fractures. Smoking decreases the bone mass.
  • Genetics: Osteoporosis tends to run in the families.

Pathophysiology

Bones are in a continuous state of renewal. Some bone is forming and some are resorbing. Osteoporosis occurs as a result of skeletal mass reduction due to alteration in bone forming and bone resorbing activities. Both increased bone formation and bone resorption can cause osteoporosis.

What can be the symptoms?

In most of the cases, osteoporosis is not noticeable until any fracture occurs. If you notice a loss of height, back pain or a change in your posture you should seek medical help and get the right diagnosis. You might be suffering from osteoporosis.

How is Osteoporosis in men diagnosed?

Osteoporosis can be diagnosed by taking proper medical history and conducting physical checkup, blood and urine tests and scan (DXA to measure bone density)

What is the treatment of Osteoporosis?

Check the medical condition and treat that first. Osteoporosis that occurs due to such medical condition is Secondary Osteoporosis.

Medications like bisphosphonates increase the bone density by fighting with the body bone resorbing tissues. They can be used as IV, orally and subcutaneous injections. Testosterone therapy administered as injections, implants, gels and skin patches as well as parathyroid hormone therapy are a part of the osteoporosis treatment.

Change your lifestyle with proper exercise. If you are prone to osteoporosis than exercises like jumping or running can result in bone fractures, when the bones are too weak. Quit smoking. Moderate the use of caffeine and do not abuse with alcohol. Lead a healthy and active life. Sun exposure will increase the production of Vitamin D necessary for the bone growth, as well as calcium. Prevent yourself from fractures and try to consume required amount of calcium (1000mg for adult and men with 70+ age 1300mg)

Prognosis of Osteoporosis

Prognosis of Osteoporosis is good if it is recognized earlier and the best treatment is given. Bone mass density can be increased using necessary medications.