Attention Men: Osteoporosis no more common just among women

Brittle bones and its chances of breaking is not just common among women any more as the doctors have observed a steady rise osteoporosis among men too

osteoroporosis
Illustration: Milind Jadhav

Osteoporosis is common in men, too, but it is a highly ignored health issue, say orthopaedic surgeons, who are seeing a rise in number of men with osteoporotic fractures. The surgeons say though the ratio of osteoporosis in men and women stands at 6:4, negligence and poor awareness among men has led to the late diagnosis.

Dr Pradeep Bhosale, director, arthritis and joint replacement surgery, Nanavati Super Speciality hospital, said, “In most cases, when men were told they have osteoporotic fracture, they were in total disbelief. It’s incorrect to think it’s a women’s disease. In an urban city like Mumbai, osteoporosis is common in men because of sedentary lifestyle. Vitamin D3 deficiency is another factor which is leading to osteoporosis in men.”

He added that unlike women, men are less likely to go for a bone density check-up. “It is only when there is an osteoporotic fracture that men realise they have osteoporosis. Along with Vitamin D3, thyroid, bone mineral density tests in yearly body check-up is a must” said Dr Pradeep.

Doctors say apart from sedentary lifestyle and nutrient deficiencies, disorders like celiac disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and treatments for other health problems like depression, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and prostate cancer can also contribute to risk factors for osteoporosis.

“Like women, men too experience menopause when there is a drop in sexual activity, hormonal activity.  It is not a formal menopause like women, but it is a contributing factor to osteoporosis in men. Generally, men experience osteoporosis post the age of 60. But, we are seeing a fair number of men within the age bracket of 50 and 55 suffering from it. This was not the case 20 years ago,” said Dr Sachin Bhonsle, an orthopaedic surgeon at Fortis hospital.

According to the International Osteoporosis foundation, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually worldwide, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds. In fact, by 2050, the worldwide incidences of hip fractures in men are projected to rise by 310% and 240% in women, compared to rates in 1990.

“Osteoporosis takes a huge personal and economic toll and therefore, there is a need to spread more awareness around it. Osteoporotic fractures are difficult to operate, too, as the bone quality is poor. The mobility of the patient gets delayed,” said Dr Tushar Rathod, an assistant professor, orthopaedic department, KEM hospital.

Osteoporosis

The word osteoporosis literally means “porous bones”. It occurs when bones lose an excessive amount of their protein and mineral content, particularly calcium. As a result, the bones become weak may break from a minor fall or in serious cases, even from simple actions like sneezing or bumping into furniture.