Osteoporosis: Also a Risk to Men’s Health
Many people believe that osteoporosis is a health problem that only affects women, especially postmenopausal women. However, Osteoporosis Canada, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness and prevent the disease, estimates that 1 in 5 Canadian men will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime…
We therefore encourage men to learn more about osteoporosis so that they can better protect themselves from injury.
What causes osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to a decrease in bone mass. This decrease is quite simple to understand. It is estimated that a person reaches their peak bone mass around the age of 20. Thereafter, bone mass is relatively stable for about ten years. However, it begins to decline slowly but steadily from around the age of 30.
At a certain age, bone loss becomes greater than the regeneration that occurs in the bone cells. Bones then become porous, more fragile and more prone to fractures. This is how osteoporosis appears. It is unfortunately a silent disease since osteoporosis occurs without any apparent symptoms. The loss of bone mass associated with osteoporosis is often noticed when a person suffers a fracture for the first time.
Why is osteoporosis more often associated with women?
The reduction in bone mass that occurs as we age is accelerated during menopause in women. It represents a 3–5% reduction in bone mass per year, whereas in men the loss happens more steadily as they age. In addition, men have typically more bone mass than women. Thus, women are up to 4 times more affected by osteoporosis than men. This is why they are better screened and monitored for osteoporosis than their male counterparts. This is not without consequences for men…
Health professionals estimate that around the age of 70, bone loss becomes equivalent in both women and men. In addition, since men receive less medical attention for this condition, they are at greater risk of complications. For example, 25% of hip fractures in Canada occur in men. These are injuries that can greatly affect a person’s mobility and can even cause death, especially among the elderly.
Can osteoporosis be treated?
There is unfortunately no treatment for osteoporosis. However, lifestyle and dietary habits can help reduce the impact of the disease. Here are the main ones:
- A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D: Calcium is the main component of bones. It therefore participates in their constant renewal and strengthens them. From the age of 50 onwards, it is recommended to consume 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Vitamin D also plays a key role in bone health by helping the body to better absorb calcium.
- Regular physical activity: Exercises that include weights and strengthening exercises help our bodies build bones that are strong. Indeed, by developing its muscle mass, the body is stimulated to strengthen its bones to better support the muscles.
- Avoid or limit alcohol and tobacco consumption: Alcohol and tobacco are substances that can reduce bone density when consumed in large quantities. It is therefore important to avoid smoking and to limit alcohol consumption by following the health guidelines.