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While much attention is given to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in females, this sometimes silent disease occurs in men as well. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 2 million American men have the disease.

Dr. Lansing Yee, a specialist in Family Medicine and the Managing Physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Cinco Ranch, gives us some insights on osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a common disease that is characterized by low bone mass with increased risks of fractures,” Dr. Yee says. “It is much more common in men over the age of 70 and in men aged 50-70 with underlying medical diseases. Usually the first sign is a low trauma fracture or when it is found as an incidental finding on an X-ray done for some other diagnostic purposes.”

Dr. Yee reports that he is seeing more fractures in aging patients, particularly those with underlying medical conditions – patients taking steroids and patients who are frail. He has also seen a connection between osteoporosis and men who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer.

Recommendations for Men Over 50

When should men over 50 be tested for osteoporosis? While Dr. Yee does not screen his patients routinely unless they are older than 70 years of age, “I do screen men between 50 and 70 years of age who are on steroids, who have certain underlying medical conditions, who have had low trauma fractures, or who have lost more than 1-1/2 inches of height,” he says.

For those in which osteoporosis is suspected, a bone density test is performed, and repeated every two to five years.

The best medical wisdom on osteoporosis encourages children and youth of both sexes to be conscious of building strong bones, to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D, as well as a good amount of physical activity.

“It’s very important to get a good head start in developing good health habits,” Dr. Yee states.

Those preventive measures should be continued throughout life. Dr. Yee recommends 1,200 to 1,800 mg of calcium and 600-1,200 mg of vitamin D in patients who are not vitamin D deficient. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking is recommended at least three times a week.

In general, live and enjoy a healthy life!

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key, as well as having regular checkups by your family doctor or internist,” Dr. Yee concludes.​