Although women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis, 30% of all fractures in people over the age of 50 actually occur in men. Around 250,000 men in Australia have osteoporosis and this number is increasing. Like women, there are a number of preventative measures men can take to decrease their risk of developing osteoporosis.
The recommendations for significant calcium and vitamin D intake as well as weight-bearing exercise apply as much to men as it does to women. All three of these factors contribute to healthy bones, as we know. However, lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol, inactivity, obesity and low body weight also contribute to poor bone health and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Have a chat with your doctor if you are concerned about any of these lifestyle risk factors.
An additional risk factor for males is low testosterone. The male hormone testosterone helps maintain strong bones, and low testosterone levels, therefore, increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and breaking a bone. Men may lose testosterone due to ageing; however, levels can also be affected by certain medications such as glucocorticoids or treatment for prostate cancer. One form of treatment for prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy, where the amount of testosterone and related hormones are cut back (this can shrink the prostate tumour or slow its growth). Studies have shown that men who have hormone therapy or testes removal are at a significantly higher risk of an osteoporosis fracture.
Fitness fanatic and AFL legend David Parkin was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in 2011. ‘The diagnosis of osteoporosis turned my life upside down,’ he said. ‘Despite surviving prostate cancer in 2008, my health generally had been extremely good, up to that point. Due to my early/accurate diagnosis, expert medical guidance, appropriate treatment and support, I continue to live a very normal, active life.’
If you have any concerns or questions about osteoporosis have a chat with you GP or you can call our Toll-Free helpline number on 1800 242 141.