Over a quarter of middle-aged men may be at risk of osteoporosis
Loss of bone mineral density is occurring at younger ages in men and women, according to a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, so more middle-aged adults should be scanned to understand their risk and establish a baseline for monitoring.
Findings based on bone mineral density of 173 adults aged 35 years to 50 years suggest that 28% of men and 26% of women aged 35–50 years of age had osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis when bones are weaker than normal but do not yet break easily).
The findings surprised the researchers, who did not expect the condition to be more prevalent in men.
“We typically associate loss of bone mineral density with post-menopausal women, but our findings showed elevated risk in younger men,” says Dr Martha Ann Bass, lead author. “Almost all participants who were found to have osteopenia were surprised and I think this is a more prevalent issue than anyone expected.”
Bone mineral density decreases naturally with age, so people who do not have strong bones as young adults are at increased risk for diseases like osteoporosis later in life. Maintain bone mineral density through eating a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running and jumping. Moderate weight-lifting is beneficial but be careful and avoid overly heavy weights.
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