Aging Options

Taking care of bones will help men fight serious threat to health and finances

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We relate some diseases to specific sexes.  Take breast cancer for instance.  Breast cancer is about 100 times less common amongst men than it is among women.  According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer for men is about 1 in 1,000.  In comparison, about one woman in eight will get breast cancer sometime in their lifetime.  Another disease that we relate specifically to women is osteoporosis.  Unlike breast cancer however, if you are a man, you still have a significant chance of getting the bone-wasting disease.

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that results from losing too much bone or making too little bone.  Because someone with osteoporosis has far less density and far more porous bone structure, the bones become weaker and more likely to break.  About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis.  One in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 are in jeopardy of experiencing complications of osteoporosis.  Some of those complications include a greater likelihood that bones, especially in the hip, spine and wrist, will break.  Osteoporosis is also responsible for collapsing vertebrae causing the sufferer to become stooped or hunched.

Women are far more likely to be tested for bone density than men even after the individual experiences a fracture.  Yet, as many as one out of four men will experience a fracture because of osteoporosis and they are twice as likely to die of the complications.

If you are a man, you need to know that you are more likely to get osteoporosis than prostate cancer.  Men are more likely to die from a broken hip than women are and they are more likely to experience a broken spine or hip at a younger age than women.  Risk factors for men include having a family history of it, taking steroid medicines, not exercising, smoking, drinking too much, low testosterone or estrogen levels, chronic kidney, lung or gastrointestinal disease, prostate cancer and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.  To learn more about the risk factors for getting the disease and what you can do about it, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has a guide you can download here.  Here’s a guide from the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

It’s estimated that osteoporosis costs $19 billion in related costs every year.  According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 20 percent of seniors who break a hip die within a year of the break due to complications from either the broken bone or the surgery to repair the bone.  Many people who do survive end up in long-term nursing home care.

Man or woman, you don’t have to end up with osteoporosis.  It’s not a normal part of aging and you can do something to prevent what is a painful and even deadly disease.  Here’s four steps you can take to protect your bones.

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet including fruits and vegetables that are good for bone health.
  2. Exercise regularly using weight bearing and muscle-strengthening to build and maintain bone density.
  3. Get enough calcium and vitamin D.
  4. Avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.

Here’s the original article.

One final step you can take to protect yourself against osteoporosis is to make sure that you have a doctor who recognizes the risks of aging.  Far too many doctors relate this or that problem to getting older without making sure that the real cause of the problem is age rather than something they can help you fix.  If you can, hire a geriatric physician but recognize that they are nearly as scarce as hen’s teeth.  A second option is to make sure the doctor you have is familiar with and a proactive about geriatric health issues and not just someone who will proclaim that you are old when we know that aging is not a disease and your doctor of all people should not treat it as such.

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