Osteoporosis: Can men suffer too?

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Can men suffer from osteoporosis? My mother and aunt both suffered broken bones in old age. Most of the publicity about the disease refers to women.

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Men can and do get osteoporosis. It is more common in women, for several reasons. Men have bigger, stronger bones than women, and this head-start means they usually don't get problems until their late seventies. Also, men do not suffer from the thinning of bones that occurs after the female menopause. Inactive men are at higher risk, and so are smokers and heavy drinkers). Some drugs, particularly long-term steroids and drugs to treat epilepsy, will increase a man's chances of getting osteoporosis. Prevention is much better than treating it, so: don't smoke, don't drink too much, have a diet with plenty of calcium, and do weight-bearing exercise. Your doctor may suggest a bone density scan. The National Osteoporosis Society has a leaflet, "Osteoporosis in Men", for download; see www.nos.org.uk.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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