Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more porous and sponge-like. Known as a “silent” disorder, it does not usually show symptoms until a fracture occurs. When there is a break, the fractures are more likely to occur in the spine, wrist and hips and can be debilitating.
Many people have the idea that osteoporosis is a disorder that almost exclusively affects women. The truth is that while women do tend to have higher risk factors, osteoporosis is a serious bone disorder that can affect people of all ages and both genders.
Women tend to live longer than men and be less active than their male counterparts. Both of which cause higher incidents of osteoporosis. Still, when males do develop the disorder, it can cause more severe fractures that can potentially be life threatening.
Overall, males are twice as likely to die after a hip, spine or other major fracture than women. While no one is certain as to why this is so, the fact remains that while osteoporosis in males is more rare, it’s also likely to be more dangerous.
As a rule, males have more overall bone mass. Studies have shown that even when females are rightly the same body size, males have more bone mass. One of the reasons that males have more mass is due to higher levels of testosterone. As males age however, testosterone levels begin to fall, putting men at more risk for osteoporosis and fracture related deaths.
Additionally, public awareness of osteoporosis has centered more on women than men. Men simply do not know that they may be at risk and therefore are never tested. All men over the age of 50 should speak with their doctor about testing, especially if low body weight, long term tobacco use, or excessive alcohol use are factors.
During the aging process, bone formation slows and bone reabsorption (or bone breakdown) becomes more rapid. These factors cause a decrease in bone density which could lead to osteoporosis. As bone density drops, risk for fractures quickly rise. Fractures are an inevitable complication of osteoporosis if the disease is left untreated. The majority of these fractures can occur after only minor incidents, such as a fall.
Risk factors for male osteoporosis include:
- Family History
- Lack of Calcium and Vitamin D
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Previous Cancer Therapy
- Certain medications
An estimated two million men in the United States suffer bone loss due to osteoporosis. Twelve million more have an increased risk. A DEXA scan (dual X-ray absorptiometry) or other tests can provide peace of mind. Testing is both simple and fast. Testing can help prevent excessive bone loss and fractures to keep you up and running for the long haul. Don’t wait till you break a bone to find out you have male osteoporosis. Get tested today.
Contact Independent Imaging to learn more about osteoporosis testing and how it can help to prevent unfortunate setbacks to your health. Call us at (561) 795-5558, or feel free to schedule an appointment online. Why worry about what might be coming, when we can test for it.