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Osteoporosis: What Men Need To Know About This Silent Disease


Osteoporosis doesn't only affect older women. Men can also develop the bone-thinning disease, although at a lesser rate.

Interview highlights: 

Dr. Raju Paspula is the senior staff lead physician with the Geriatrics and Senior Care Center at Parkland Hospital System.

Why it’s a silent disease: “When we are in mid-30s, we are at the peak of bone mass, we are in good shape. But as you progress in age, the bone density decreases, thus putting people at risk. People may not know about it until they have a minor trauma turning to fracture.”

Why men are less susceptible to osteoporosis: “Size of bone. Also, we (men) don’t have problems like menopause like women. At the age of 50 there is a decrease in the estrogen hormone in women. We (men) don’t have that problem.”

Men at risk for osteoporosis: “People who smoke a lot. People who take certain medications like prednisone. And there is a certain treatment in prostate cancer – it’s called androgen deprivation therapy. They give certain medicines to cut down the testosterone. That can reduce bone density. As age progresses, it becomes more prevalent. When you look at a person who’s age 65, approximately 25 percent have developing a fracture. As we grow older and older, the risk is much higher. At the age of 90, one out of every six men develop a fracture because of osteoporosis."

How to treat or avoid osteoporosis: “Begin with lifestyle changes. Cut down or stop smoking. It’s (osteoporosis) is very common in heavy drinkers. Exercise improves bone density, makes the bones stronger. There are also great medications.”

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Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.