June is men’s health month and we are focusing on how to keep 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 take a look at the causes of osteoporosis in men and ways to keep your bones strong.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is known as the ‘silent disease’ because there are no symptoms or indicators until you break or fracture a bone. It has the potential to seriously affect your mobility and your independence as you age.
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 is able to grow larger and denser. But as you get older, new bone cells are slower to regenerate and you start to lose bone density.
After the age of 50, men’s ability to absorb calcium also declines and this further speeds the weakening of bones. Eventually your bones grow brittle so even minor bumps or falls can result in broken bones which take even longer to heal.
Lifestyles can Affect Osteoporosis
Primary osteoporosis is a natural loss of bone density through aging, but there is also secondary osteoporosis which can be caused by lifestyle choices, low testosterone levels or long-term use of certain medications. Glucocorticoid medications, anticonvulsants and other immunosuppressive drugs can cause osteoporosis when taken over a long period of time.
Lifestyle choices can also affect your bone structure like not getting enough calcium in your diet, 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 disease 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?
Drink moderately, quit smoking and take up a form of exercise that you enjoy so that you are more likely to keep at it. Increase your daily intake of calcium and vitamin D. You should be getting 1,000 mg of calcium between the ages of 19 and 50 which you should increase to 1,200 mg after age 50. You should get a daily dose of 600 IU (International Units) of vitamin D up to the age of 70. After that, increase your daily dose to 800 IU.
Good bone health is vital to keep your strength and mobility as you grow older. Good lifestyle choices, a healthy diet and exercise all contribute to keeping you moving.