Most times when we hear about the dangers of osteoporosis, the stories reference women as the victims. It is true that women are at risk for the disease. In fact, osteoporosis is believed be the reason one in three women break a bone in their lifetime. However, osteoporosis can also have even more deadly consequences for men.
Determining Osteoporosis Risk in Older Men
How can you determine if an older man in your life is at risk for osteoporosis?
Here are a few of the risk factors known to contribute to the disease:
- Low body mass index
- Family history
- Medications used to treat prostate cancer
- High alcohol consumption
- Thyroid problems
There are several tests that can also help identify bone loss and osteoporosis risk:
- The Osteoporosis Risk Test is test that works by looking at factors known to contribute to osteoporosis, including family history and medications.
- A Bone Mineral Density Test can also determine if your senior family member has osteoporosis. It requires a physician order and will usually be paid for by Medicare.
Preventing Osteoporosis in Men
There are lifestyle choices older men can make to decrease their risk for developing osteoporosis including:
- Kicking the smoking habit can cut the risk for a hip fracture by as much as 68%.
- Limiting alcohol consumption to just a few glasses once or twice a week.
- Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI). A BMI of less than 20 can double the risk for a bone fracture.
- Poor nutrition can increase the risk for osteoporosis. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is one of the best prevention practices.
- Talking with a physician about the need for a vitamin D supplement. With aging, the need for vitamin D and calcium often increases.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Older adults with a sedentary lifestyle are 50% more likely to fracture a hip than active seniors.
- Exercising and strength training can both help to prevent bone loss.
We hope this information helps you better understand the risk of osteoporosis older men face and the steps they can take to prevent it.
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