You must have heard, women are at greater risk for osteoporosis but men get osteoporosis too. Hence, don’t think that you are free from it if you are a man. One in every four men over the age of 50 years usually break a bone because of osteoporosis. Almost two million U.S men are already suffering from osteoporosis. The counting does not stop here, men older than 50 years are more likely to break a bone because of osteoporosis. This article is all about male osteoporosis. So let’s start with the definition.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become porous, decreasing the quality and density of bones. When bones become fragile and porous the risk of fractures greatly increases. Usually, there are no such specific initial symptoms of osteoporosis, people get to know about it until the first fracture occurs. Osteoporosis fracture usually occurs in the hip, wrist, or spine.
Can Men Suffer From Osteoporosis Too?
The risk factors that put women at risk for osteoporosis apply to men as well, such as consuming steroid medicines, not exercising, smoking, too much alcohol intake or having a low testosterone level is enough to make men suffer from osteoporosis. Some evidence also says that low estrogen levels in men may result in bone loss as other medical complications, such as chronic kidney, lung or gastrointestinal disease, prostate cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis(RA).
Almost 2 million American men have osteoporosis, and 12 million men are at risk or may have early signs of bone loss and low bone density. Even though osteoporosis mostly occurs in women. According to Paul Mystkowski, an endocrinologist says women live longer, so they are more likely to get osteoporosis. Additionally, he said men are more likely to have physical activity during their lifetime as compared to women this makes women more prone to osteoporosis.
Why Osteoporosis Is Caused?
The formation of bones is a cyclic process, new bones are formed and old ones are broken down. When the process of formation of bones is faster than the process of breakdown, the bone density tends to increase and also decreases after the early 20s. Generally, humans reach their peak bone mass by the age of 30, therefore, after people age, the bone mass starts to lose with time.
The chance of developing osteoporosis partially depends on the bone mass you attained during your young age. However, the bone density is somewhat inherited and varies by ethnic group. The higher your bone density during your young age, the more bones are available in the bone bank, thus decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. Yet there are some risk factors that may increase the chance of developing osteoporosis.
There are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis including your age, race, lifestyle, and medical condition with treatment which are categorised accordingly.
Unchangeable risks: There are some risk factors of osteoporosis that are not in your hands, such as:-
- Gender: The risk of developing osteoporosis is greater in women as compared to men.
- Age: The risk of osteoporosis increases with the increase in age.
- Family history: The chance of osteoporosis increases if your parents have it, especially if your mother or father fractured a hip.
- Body frame size: People with small body frames are more likely to develop osteoporosis because such people have less bone mass to draw from with the increase in their age.
Change in hormones: The chance of developing osteoporosis also depends on the change of hormone level in the body, such as:-
- Sex hormones: Low sex organs weaken bone because of the decrease in the level of sex hormone, estrogen and testosterone in case of women and men, respectively. The decrease in the level of estrogen during menopause reduces its level creating a high risk for developing osteoporosis in women. In the case of men, the hormone level decreases gradually which results in a bit decrease in the risk of osteoporosis.
Some treatments, such as prostate cancer and breast cancer reduce the testosterone levels in men and estrogen level in women, respectively. Thus increasing the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Thyroid: Too much increase in the level of thyroid hormone will also lead to the development of osteoporosis. Thus, patients with an overactive thyroid who consumes too much thyroid hormone medicines also cause osteoporosis to occur.
- Other glands: Overactive parathyroid and adrenal glands also increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Dietary parameter: When it comes to diet, it’s in your hand. The occurrence of osteoporosis is greater in people with:-
- Low calcium intake: Decrease in the level of calcium in your entire life especially during young age will also lead you to the development of osteoporosis. It is because a low level of calcium diminishes bone density, the early loss of bone, and an increased risk of fractures.
- Eating disorder: Not consuming proper food and consequently being underweight makes your body including bones weak in both men and women.
- Gastrointestinal surgery: Sometimes lack of calcium may also lead to the weakening of the bone. Surgeries that involve the removal of the parts of the intestine results in a decrease in the surface area available to absorb nutrients, such as calcium. As a result, these surgeries might be helpful for you but it may result in a decrease in the amount of calcium content and increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Consuming steroids and medications: Consuming or injecting corticosteroid medication, such as prednisone and cortisone for a long period of time will interfere with the bone-rebuilding process associated with osteoporosis.
- Gastric reflux
- Transplant rejection
Medical conditions: Some medical complications increase the risk of osteoporosis, such as:-
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Kidney or liver disease
- Multiple myeloma
- Rheumatoid argeruris
Lifestyle: Your habits define your health. In order to make your life healthy, it is important to have healthy habits. Similarly, some habits of your day to day life may put you in the risk of developing osteoporosis, such as:-
- Sedentary lifestyle: People who spend most of their time sitting are at greater risk of osteoporosis as compared to those who are physically more sedentary. Thus, physical activity or any weight-bearing activities that put pressure on your body are beneficial for both body and bones. In fact, walking, running, jumping, dancing, and weightlifting are the activities that will help you to have increased bone density.
- Excessive alcohol intake: Consistent consumption of more than two drinks in a day is harmful to you and increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. If you drink too much alcohol, stop doing it.
- Tobacco use: It isn’t specific that consumption of tobacco is related to osteoporosis. But it has been noticed that the use of tobacco results in weakening of the bones.
Usually, there are no such specific initial symptoms that will help you to know about osteoporosis occurrence. But when your bones become weak you might have signs and symptoms, such as:-
- Pain in the back because of the fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
In case you went through early menopause, took corticosteroids for several months at a time, or if either of your parents had hip fractures, you should keep consulting your doctor. It is because these things probably increase your risk of osteoporosis symptoms.
Osteoporosis How To Treat?
The osteoporosis treatment involves the information, such as bone density in order to estimate bone strength for the next 10 years.
Bisphosphonates: It is the most common osteoporosis medications for both men and women which includes:-
- Alendronate(Fosamax, Binosto)
- Risedronate(Actonel, Atelvia)
- Zoledronic acid(Zometa, Reclast)
These medications might show some mild side effects, such as nausea, abdominal pain, and heartburn, but these symptoms are likely to occur if the medicine is consumed properly. This form of osteoporosis treatment will not make you feel stomach upset but it can cause fever, headache, and muscle aches for a few days.
Monoclonal antibody medications: Such types of medications involve Denosumab which provides similar or better bone density results which help to reduce the chance of all types of fractures. This medicine is delivered by a shot under the skin every six months.
According to some research, if you discontinue the medicine, you might be at high risk of the spinal column fracture. Thus, once you start with the medicine you need to continue with it for life long. Both medicines Denosumab and Bisphosphonates have a rare complication, like break and crack in the middle of the thigh bone. It may also show a second rare complication, delayed healing of the jawbone which can occur after an invasive dental procedure, such as removing a tooth.
It is recommended that you should have a dental test before consuming these medicines, visit your dentist regularly, and consult with the dentists before consuming the medicines.
Hormone-related therapy: In this therapy, the hormones are altered accordingly for bone health in younger women or in women whose menopausal symptoms may also need treatment. However, such therapies may increase the risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and possibly heart disease.
Raloxifene(Evista) is beneficial for bone density in postmenopausal women, without some risks associated with estrogen. Consuming this drug may reduce the risk of some types of breast cancer, you may experience hot flashes as a common side effect and also increases the risk of blood clots.
In men osteoporosis occurs also because of the decline in testosterone level which can be further improved with the help of testosterone replacement therapy. This therapy involves the improvement of symptoms of low testosterone, but for better results, osteoporosis medications are consumed with testosterone therapy in men.
Bone building medications: If the above-mentioned therapies don't work effectively, your doctors might suggest things, such as:-
- Teriparatide(Forteo): It is a powerful drug-like parathyroid hormone and stimulates new bone growth. The medicine is injected daily under the skin. After consuming the drug for two years, other osteoporosis drugs are to be consumed to maintain the newly growing bones.
- Abaloparatide(Tymlos): It is a drug similar to parathyroid hormones that is to be consumed only for two years followed by another osteoporosis medication.
Romosozumab: It is the newest medicine for building up bones to treat osteoporosis which is injected every month at your doctor’s office. The medicine should be taken for one year followed by other medicines for osteoporosis.