When you think of bone health, you may automatically think of women. As women age, it’s known that they can become at risk for osteoporosis. But, folks, this condition and associated problems like hip fractures don’t just a pose a threat to women–men are at risk, too! According to the National Osteoporosis Association, around one out of every four men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis (https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/just-for-men/).
Risk factors for male osteoporosis
There are many risk factors for osteoporosis in men. Age is one; the older you are, the higher your risk goes. If you have a family history of fractures, you’re more at risk as well. Some medications–such as cancer treatments that lower testosterone levels and steroids for asthma–can boost your risk, as can having a chronic disease that impacts your intestines, stomach, lungs or kidneys.
Your lifestyle can also raise your risk of developing osteoporosis. Living a sedentary lifestyle, not getting enough calcium, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are all known risk factors for the development of this condition.
What you can do to have healthy bones
If you’ve already had falls or fractures or have many of the risk factors above, you can speak to a doctor to have a bone scan done to determine your current bone density. If you find you have low density or are diagnosed with osteoporosis after the scan, you’ll be advised to increase your vitamin D and calcium levels to help maintain your bone mass.
The National Institutes of Health recommends men get 1,000 mg of calcium a day between the ages of 19 and 70, with the dose increasing to 1,200 mg once you pass the age of 70 (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/).
Keep in mind that your body will use calcium from food more efficiently if you eat those foods at various times over the course of the day. You can, for example, make your oatmeal for breakfast with milk instead of water, include yogurt as an afternoon snack and add some cheese to your dinner.
If you are not sure you will be able to get the recommended dose through diet alone, there are supplements available in many forms, including gummies and chews. Speak to your doctor before taking the supplements for guidance. Your doctor will advise you on the right dose based on your test results.