Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Men not immune to the debilitating effects of osteoporosis

June 8, 2006

It is estimated that more than two million men in the United States have osteoporosis.

According to the June 2006 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons article by Vonda J. Wright, MD, which is an extensive review of the current literature on this disease, 30 percent of hip fractures occur in men, and those men have twice the mortality rate of women during the initial hospitalization and first post-fracture year.

One-third of men who suffer a hip fracture lose independence and must move into a nursing facility or a relative's home. With 77 million baby boomers aging, the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of men with osteoporosis is crucial to preventing these fragility fractures.

Osteoporosis is often considered a woman's disease because it is linked to a loss of bio-available estrogen that occurs during aging. Because women have higher levels of estrogen, most of the research on osteoporosis has been focused on them. However, men also undergo a loss of estrogen and other hormones that affect bone density, albeit more gradually than women.

Men who are most likely to have osteoporosis are those who are over the age of 75, have a low body-mass index, have lost more than 5 percent of their body weight in the previous four years, currently smoke and are physically inactive. At least 50 percent of the causes of osteoporosis in men are ascribed to other diseases or lifestyle choices. Men are more likely than women to have osteoporosis secondary to an underlying disease or metabolic problem.

There is also a genetic factor in osteoporosis.

"If you are a man who notices that your father is losing height or sustained a hip fracture from a standing position, he may have osteoporosis; therefore, you may have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis too," Dr. Wright said.

Physical Therapists are able to help slow the progression of this disease by doing specific exercises to maintain spinal flexibility and posture, improving endurance and conditioning including weighted exercises for improved muscle and bone health.

The American Physical Therapy Association is a national advocate for improving patient care and raising awareness of musculoskeletal health, doing rehabilitation research and improving people's quality of life.

For more information, visit the Web site at www.apta.org.

Physical therapists Carolyn Bloom and Jeremy Zimney can provide information about these services in the Eudora and Lawrence areas. The Web site is www.bloompt.com.


  • Carolyn Bloom lives in Eudora. She is a physical therapist with offices in Eudora and Lawrence.

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