June is men’s health month, and we focus on keeping you strong and healthy at all stages of life. Osteoporosis doesn’t only affect women; in fact, 1 in 4 men will fracture a bone thanks to the lack of bone density caused by Osteoporosis. We look at the causes of Osteoporosis in men and ways to keep your bones strong.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a ‘silent disease’ because there are no symptoms or indicators until you break or fracture a bone. It can potentially affect your mobility and independence as you age seriously.
Your bones are continuously regenerating. Old bone cells die and are removed while new bone cells form to take their place. When you are growing, new bone cells grow faster than old cells are discarded, so your skeleton can grow larger and denser. But as you age, new bone cells slowly regenerate, and you lose bone density.
After age 50, men’s ability to absorb calcium also declines, further speeding the weakening of bones. Eventually, your bones grow brittle, so even minor bumps or falls can result in broken bones that take longer to heal.
Lifestyles can Affect Osteoporosis
Primary Osteoporosis is a natural loss of bone density through aging. Still, there is also secondary Osteoporosis, which lifestyle choices, low testosterone levels or long-term use of certain medications can cause. Glucocorticoid medications, anticonvulsants and other immunosuppressive drugs can cause Osteoporosis over a long period.
Lifestyle choices can also affect your bone structure, like not getting enough calcium, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and a lack of physical exercise.
Chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach, and intestines can also result in Osteoporosis as they affect hormone levels. If you suffer from a chronic illness or have been taking long-term medication, discuss the possibility of Osteoporosis with your doctor and regularly check your bone density.
How can you Prevent Osteoporosis?
Maintaining strong and healthy bones throughout your life is essential to prevent Osteoporosis. While this topic is not directly related to your profile, I’ll provide some general tips on avoiding Osteoporosis:
- Dietary Calcium: Ensure you get enough calcium in your diet. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are excellent sources of calcium. If you’re lactose intolerant or don’t consume dairy, consider fortified plant-based milk, leafy greens, and calcium supplements if needed.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Spend some time outdoors to get natural sunlight, as your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from foods like fatty fish and fortified cereals.
- Adequate Protein: Include enough protein in your diet, as it’s a crucial component of bone tissue. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and nuts are good protein sources.
- Regular Exercise: Engage in weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, dancing, or weightlifting. These activities help to build and maintain bone density.
- Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol: Smoking can reduce bone density, so quitting is beneficial. Also, excessive alcohol consumption can weaken bones, so limit your alcohol intake.
- Maintain a Healthy Body Weight: Being underweight increases the risk of Osteoporosis. Ensure you maintain a healthy body weight through a balanced diet and exercise.
- Reduce Caffeine Intake: High caffeine consumption can lead to calcium loss. Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea.
- Regular Check-ups: If you have risk factors for Osteoporosis, consult a healthcare professional for bone density testing and advice on medications or supplements if necessary.
- Fall Prevention: Osteoporosis makes bones more fragile, so take steps to prevent falls. This includes removing tripping hazards in your home, wearing appropriate footwear, and staying physically active to maintain balance.
- Medications: In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe medications to treat or prevent Osteoporosis, especially if you have significant risk factors.
Remember that preventing Osteoporosis is a lifelong commitment to maintaining bone health. Combining a healthy lifestyle with regular check-ups and professional guidance is essential to minimize your risk of developing this condition.