Osteoporosis is one of the most common conditions affecting the bones in women. The risk of osteoporosis increases in women after menopause making them vulnerable to developing fractures. The incidence of this condition is comparatively lower in men. However, it would be wrong to assume that osteoporosis does not affect men at all. There is a need to create awareness about the fact that osteoporosis can affect men too.
Here is a brief discussion about the comparative risk of osteoporosis in women and men and the specific risk factors that can make men vulnerable to develop this condition.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that occurs due to the loss of bone mineral density. It may occur due to a combination of factors such as hormonal imbalances occurring during menopause in women, degenerative changes in the bone tissues, and the deficiency of vitamin D and calcium.
Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. It is estimated that nearly 80% of patients with osteoporosis are women. Also, approximately 1 in 2 women above the age of 50 years is likely to develop a fracture due to osteoporosis. A woman’s risk of a fracture in the hip bone is equal to the combined risk of developing breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
This indicates women are more prone to developing osteoporosis and fractures due to the loss of bone mineral density.
However, though the incidence of osteoporosis is comparatively lower in men, certain factors can make them vulnerable to developing this condition. The factors known to trigger bone loss in men are discussed below.
Factors Affecting Bone Loss and the Risk of Osteoporosis in Men
Osteoporosis Risk in Men
Osteoporosis is less likely to affect men as they have a larger skeleton serving as a major protective factor. Men also do not experience a sudden decline in the levels of the hormone estrogen that women experience at menopause. Also, the loss of bone mass occurs at a much slower rate in men than in women until the age of 65 to 70 years.
However, after the age of 70, the rate of bone loss is the same in both men and women. This indicates that the risk of osteoporosis may increase in men after the age of 70 years, necessitating them to take appropriate measures to prevent bone loss.
A family history of osteoporosis, chronic diseases like immunological dysfunctions, rheumatoid arthritis, or hyperthyroidism, regular use of medications like glucocorticoids, and lifestyle factors like smoking can increase their risk of osteoporosis substantially.
Excessive intake of alcohol, lower calcium intake, a weak immune system, obesity, and vitamin D deficiency can also put them at a risk of osteoporosis.
Hence, men should not neglect bone health and seek appropriate treatment if the bone densitometry shows a decline in bone mass.
Bone Turnover Markers
Studies have revealed that that the levels of bone turnover markers tend to be higher in men than in women. The annual bone loss at the neck of the femur was found to be 0.82% in men and 0.96% in women. This suggests that the risk of osteoporosis is lower in men than in women.
However, the decline in the bone density of the femur may occur more rapidly in men after the age of 74 years.
The assessment of the periosteal apposition and the levels of bone loss markers have also revealed the difference in the amount of the bone loss between men and women. This study has found that men usually have a higher level of parathyroid hormone and a lower level of urinary N-telopeptide compared to women. As a result, men lose more endosteal bone than women, resulting in a faster loss of bone tissues in them.
These factors could be more pronounced in those who suffer from immunological dysfunctions or autoimmune disorders.
It is also estimated that nearly 20% of elderly men have both osteoporosis and hypogonadism suggesting the role of hormonal balance in the development of these conditions.
These factors indicate that there is a need to create awareness among men about the importance of adopting appropriate measures for preventing the risk of osteoporosis. They should also use supplements like BioPro-Plus to avoid immunological dysfunctions that could trigger faster bone loss and damage healthy bone tissues at a younger age.
Regular use of BioPro-Plus together with the healthy dietary and lifestyle changes such as including calcium, vitamin D and Vitamin C-rich foods in meals and avoiding smoking and alcohol intake could help men reduce their risk of osteoporosis and fractures.