More than a third of US adults over the age 65 fall down each year.
When it comes to bones and how they break, researchers have overlooked a large piece of the pie – men.
Men are also highly susceptible to the debilitating and deadly consequences of bone fractures.
For decades, osteoporosis research has primarily focused on women and estrogen; ultimately regulating why women are at risk for the deadly crushing disease.
Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, was assumed to regulate bone metabolism in men.
Unlike postmenopausal women, most men don’t see a sharp decline in estrogen. Since most estrogen in men is adapted from testosterone, suppressing testosterone also reduces estrogen.
Low estrogen in elderly people leads to bone injuries, like hip fractures, that have the potential to cause severe disability and unfortunately, sometimes death.
Stavros Manolagas, a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock stated that researchers have “put blinders on and focused almost exclusively on compensating for the loss of estrogen at menopause.” He further indicated that, “…men also lose bone and, for most of their lives, at about the same rate as women.”
New findings on why older individuals are at risk to break bones are upending traditional wisdom in regards to the treatment and prevention of bone loss.
Bone density testing - what was once thought to be the gold standard of measuring for fracture risk - has ultimately proven to be a less fundamental contributing factor of bone strength.
So, where does this new perspective on bone health lead us?
This new information reveals that it’s not enough to focus solely on bone density.
If you and your doctor have made treatment conclusions based solely on bone-density evaluations, your disorder should be reevaluated, and you should weigh all of the accessible options, including medication to safeguard your bones.
Women should seek medical evaluations for bone density measurement and fracture risk assessment at age 65; men should seek evaluations at 70, or preferably before if they have challenged risk factors for osteoporosis.
Diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis can immensely affect the bones in our bodies, and all may be risk factors for bone density loss and ultimately, osteoporosis – regardless of what gender you may be.
To learn more about osteoporosis and bone density tests, find an orthopedic specialist near you.
Washington Post, “Consumer Reports: Building stronger bones is important for men as well as women”. Web. Dec. 19, 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/consumer-reports-building-stronger-bones-is-important-for-men-as-well-as-women/2011/10/07/gIQASLKl4O_story.html
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.