27 Jan Bad to the Bone: Osteoporosis and Low Testosterone
True or false: osteoporosis is only relevant to women? False. Although it’s true that women often experience osteoporosis sooner than men, this condition actually affects millions of men in the United States. This is one of the more elusive conditions out there because most people aren’t aware of it until they fracture a bone and, as a result, have testing done.
Why Does Osteoporosis Happen?
The NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center does a great job of spelling this out:
Bone is constantly changing—that is, old bone is removed and replaced by new bone. During childhood, more bone is produced than removed, so the skeleton grows in both size and strength. For most people, bone mass peaks during the third decade of life. By this age, men typically have accumulated more bone mass than women. After this point, the amount of bone in the skeleton typically begins to decline slowly as removal of old bone exceeds formation of new bone.
As people age, their ability to absorb calcium also decreases. Combine that with increased bone loss, and you have the recipe for osteoporosis.
So How Is Low Testosterone Involved?
The NIH explains that you can have primary osteoporosis or secondary osteoporosis. Primary osteoporosis is often caused by the bone loss discussed earlier. Secondary osteoporosis, on the other hand, is when you lose bone mass because of other lifestyle choices or medical conditions. One of those conditions is low testosterone.
According to Dr. Joseph Ellen from the Albany Medical Center in New York, “low testosterone is one of the more established risk factors for osteoporosis in men.” In fact, the majority of men with low testosterone levels have osteopenia. People with osteopenia have lower bone density than the average person, but do not yet have osteoporosis. However, the longer a person’s testosterone levels are low, the greater their risk for developing osteoporosis.
What Can You Do?
If you have low testosterone, seriously consider having your bone mineral density tested. And, if you have low testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy could help you fight osteoporosis.
Dr. Abraham Morgentaler from Harvard Medical School and Men’s Health Boston now routinely tests the bone mineral density in men with low testosterone levels because of the connection. With regard to these cases, he says,“We regularly see improvements in bone density with testosterone therapy.”
In addition to therapy, make sure you’re exercising and eating right. Try cutting back on soda, caffeine, and salt. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium, whether that be through supplements or calcium-rich foods, like almonds, oranges, and oatmeal. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so make sure to get some sunlight, take some supplements, or eat foods that are high in vitamin D, like tuna and cheese.
If you have any questions or concerns, LT Men’s Clinic is here to help! Schedule an appointment by calling (817) 416-5698 today.