Older men at risk of osteoporosis – Harvard

Because three out of four cases of osteoporosis are women, most people consider it a women’s disease,  especially men. However, as I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.

Here’s what Harvard Health Publications has to say:

Don’t think men need to worry about osteoporosis? Think again. In fact, about one in four men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their lifetime, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.


How can men protect themselves and lower their risk of osteoporosis? Here are some strategies:

Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D.

Studies have shown that low calcium intake is associated with low bone mass and higher fracture rates. Vitamin D is needed to help absorb calcium in the body, so you need adequate amounts of each.

The Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for adults include 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day of calcium until age 50 and 1,200 mg per day afterward, and 600 international unites (IU) daily of vitamin D until age 70 and then 800 IU afterwards.

Some of the best sources of calcium include tofu, spinach, greens (collard, turnip, mustard, and kale), and dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk. High amounts of vitamin D are found in salmon, sardines, tuna, milk, and mushrooms. If you have a deficiency, or have trouble consuming these foods, you may need daily supplements. Speak with your doctor about whether you need to add them to your diet.

Increase exercise.

Regular weight-bearing exercise, such as dancing, aerobic classes, running, stair climbing, and power walking, helps to stimulate bone formation. Keep in mind that cardio workouts like the elliptical machine and exercise bike as well as regular biking are not weight bearing exercises and do not benefit the bones.

Manage medications.

Certain drugs can raise the risk of osteoporosis in men, too. These include steroids to treat rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers; androgen deprivation therapy used to treat prostate cancer; anticonvulsants for epilepsy; thyroid hormone replacement for an under-active thyroid; and some chemotherapy drugs. Speak with your doctor about your dosage and how they may influence your risk of osteoporosis.

Testosterone replacement therapy.

Low testosterone levels are associated with osteoporosis in men. However, research is ongoing what impact, if any, replacement therapy has with improving bone building. Ask your doctor if this is an option.

Stop smoking and monitor alcohol intake.

Both smoking and heavy alcohol drinking raise the risk of osteoporosis in men. Visit the American Lung Association’s website at http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking for tips on how to quit smoking.  Please check out my Page –How many ways does smoking harm you?

Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day; for example, 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits like gin or whiskey.

Keep in mind that other uncontrollable factors also may raise your risk of osteoposis, such as family history and ethnic background (whites and Asian Americans have a higher risk) and chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, intestines, and stomach.

To learn more, order the Harvard Special Health Report Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment.



Filed under bones, osteoporosis, weight-bearing exercise

2 responses to “Older men at risk of osteoporosis – Harvard

  1. Great post Tony, this is important advice for those of us over 50 who have a heightened awareness of our health.

    Liked by 1 person

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