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Osteoporosis known as "silent disease"

  • Category: Blog, Orthopedics
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  • Written By: King's Daughters Health
Osteoporosis known as "silent disease"

A majority of American men view osteoporosis solely as a “woman’s disease.” Moreover, there are many men whose lifestyle habits put them at increased risk for osteoporosis.

Few recognize the disease as a significant threat to their mobility and independence until they develop a fracture.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the skeleton to weaken and the bones to break. It poses a significant threat to millions of men in the United States. Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease” because it progresses without symptoms until a fracture occurs.

Fractures resulting from osteoporosis most commonly occur in the hip, spine, and wrist, and can be permanently disabling.

The overall mortality from hip fractures is about 20 percent in the first 12 months and is higher in men than women. Men over the age of 50 have a 27 percent chance of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture compared to a 11.3 percent chance of developing prostate cancer.

What Are the Risk Factors for Men?

Several risk factors have been linked to osteoporosis in men:

  • Chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach, and intestines or alter hormone levels
  • Regular use of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids
  • Undiagnosed low levels of the sex hormone testosterone
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits: smoking, excessive alcohol use, low calcium intake, and inadequate physical exercise
  • Age. The older you are, the greater your risk.
  • Race. Caucasian men appear to be at particularly high risk, but all men can develop this disease.

How Can Osteoporosis Be Prevented?

There have been fewer research studies on osteoporosis in men than in women. However, experts agree that all people should take the following steps to preserve their bone health:

  • Avoid smoking, reduce alcohol intake, and increase your level of physical activity.
  • Ensure a daily calcium intake that is adequate for your age.
  • Ensure an adequate intake of vitamin D.
  • Engage in a regular regimen of weight-bearing exercises in which bones and muscles work against gravity. This might include walking, jogging, racquet sports, climbing stairs, team sports, weight training and using resistance machines. A doctor should evaluate the exercise program of anyone already diagnosed with osteoporosis to determine if twisting motions and impact activities, such as those used in golf, tennis, or basketball, need to be curtailed.
  • Discuss with your doctor the use of medications that are known to cause bone loss, such as glucocorticoids.
  • Recognize and seek treatment for any underlying medical conditions that affect bone health.