In comparison, only about 27% of men will experience a broken bone from the condition. Still, that’s not a percentage to sneeze at, and new research suggests that, while fewer men are affected by osteoporosis than women, men who are affected have worse prognoses.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation recently released startling data concerning the prevalence of hip fractures among men and the rates of mortality associated with them worldwide. About one-third of hip fractures occur in men, and their rate of mortality within the first year post-fracture is 37%, twice as high as mortality rates for women with hip fractures in the same time frame.
According to the Foundation, a large part of the problem is that less than 20% of men who experience an osteoporotic fracture are getting properly diagnosed and treated. Women, they say, are twice as likely to receive proper osteoporosis treatment. This may be because the condition is mistakenly treated as a “woman’s disease” by many in the medical community. It could also be the case that men are less likely to seek treatment.
Though men over 50 aren’t at as high a risk for fractures as women, the stakes for them are higher. It’s just as important for men, then, to take preventative measures against the disease.
Men can pursue osteoporosis prevention by:
1. Getting your calcium. This can come from dairy products, dark leafy greens, salmon, sardines and/or soy products like tofu. Some cereals and orange juices are fortified with calcium as well. Some people may wish to take a supplement if they aren’t eating enough calcium-rich foods. People over 50 should get up to (but not more than) 2,000mg of calcium a day.
2. Getting your vitamin D. This vitamin allows the body to absorb calcium. Generally, we get this vitamin from sunlight. It’s a good idea to take a supplement, as most people don’t get enough from sunlight. The medical community isn’t sure what dose is best; recommendations range from 600 to 4,000 IU a day. If possible, speak with a nutritionist or a doctor about this.
3. Working those bones. Doing exercises that put stress on the bones helps them stay strong. You want impactful exercises here, not like swimming and elliptical work. Go for walking, jogging, jumping rope, stair climbing and so on. And don’t forget the weights – these work the arms and upper spine bones. Men who already have osteoporosis should consult a doctor about safe exercise.
Osteoporosis isn’t just a “woman’s disease”; men are also affected, and they face more severe consequences. See more on the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s research at www.sciencedaily.com.