Osteoporosis is not reserved for women only. It is a condition that affects both men and women. However, osteoporosis does tend to appear at different ages when comparing the sexes. Women tend to be affected after the age of 50 while men tend to be affected between 60 and 75 years of age.
Osteoporosis is a disease that involves the bones. As people age and undergo changes to their bodies the bones become more fragile and more likely to break (fracture). The bones have usually lost density, which is a measure of the calcium and minerals in the bones.
Another way to view the loss of bone density is to think in terms of bone replacement or bone turnover. It is normal for the human body to constantly replace bone and other tissues because of “wear and tear.” The problem of bone density arises when the body can not replace the “lost” bone fast enough. Then the person experiences thinner and more fragile bones because bone replacement can not match the gradual bone loss.
Women are most affected by osteoporosis when they have a drop in estrogen levels. Estrogen is key to maintaining normal bone densities and when the level drops then so does the bone density. Men tend to experience lower bone densities when their testosterone levels drop significantly – usually between 60 and 75 years.
Osteoporosis tends to be a silent problem for people who do not have periodic medical checkups for bone density. Often people experience a relatively simple fall or other injury and incur a broken bone(s). That is the moment they realize that their bone(s) broke far too easily. It is estimated that more than two million broken bones are the result of osteoporosis annually. It is also estimated that 1 out of 6 people in this country are affected by osteoporosis.
You may not be able to prevent osteoporosis entirely but you can do a great deal to significantly reduce the risk. Having a healthy lifestyle is the most important factor in keeping this disease at bay. Regular exercise that includes weights and / or resistance workouts are important. A healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium, vitamin D, green vegetables, and salmon is also very important. Smoking, alcohol, and sedentary lifestyles should be avoided.
The best advice is to know your body and have regular medical checkups. Listen to your doctor and other medical providers and follow their advice.