Osteoporosis-in-word-collageIf you think that just because you are a man you’re not at risk for osteoporosis, think again!

The National Osteoporosis Foundation sites the following facts and statistics in regards to men:
• Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
• Approximately two million American men already have osteoporosis. About 12 million more are at risk.
• Men older than 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
• Each year, about 80,000 men will break a hip.
• Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to problems related to the break.
• Men can break bones in the spine or break a hip, but this usually happens at a later age than women.

This facts and statistics might seem shocking, because osteoporosis is often viewed as a disease that only affects elderly women. While it is true that women are 50% more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, the same factors that affect bone health in women, affect men’s bone health as well. A decline in hormones is a contributing factor for the development of osteoporosis in both sexes. Testosterone plays an important part in maintaining a man’s bone density and strength by helping to decrease bone resorption and stimulate bone mineralization. Some of the causes that make bones weak are nutritional deficiencies, including inadequate calcium and vitamin D, alcohol use, smoking, digestive issues, lack of physical activity and excessive daily stress.

5 things that both men and women can do to strengthen your bones:
1. Improve your diet by increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables, and decreasing consumption of processed foods, alcohol, soda and caffeinated beverages
2. Address digestive issues by not over eating and consuming fermented foods, such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut or tempeh. If you feel bloated and gassy after eating, you may want to try    drinking a mixture of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in ¼ cup of water 10 minutes prior to eating.
3. Engage in stress reducing activities of your choice
4. Perform weight bearing activities such as running, power walking, jumping rope or sports for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week. Engage in challenging weight lifting routine 2-3 days a week.
5. Take a daily multi vitamin and mineral supplement and 2000 mg of EPA/DHA. Also get you vitamin D levels checked and supplement with vitamin D if necessary.

While the prevalence of osteoporosis among women is well known, it is important to recognize the occurrence of this disease among men.  Men also need to be encouraged to take steps, like those outlined above, to keep their bones strong and healthy, too.

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