Osteoporosis ("porous bones") is by far the most common bone disease, marked by an increased risk of bone fractures due to weak or thin bones. Although it is often equated with postmenopausal women, men aren't safe from osteoporosis either. According to a 2012 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4 percent of men over 50 years of age have the bone disease, and 38 percent of men in that age group have a condition called low bone mass (often a precursor to osteoporosis).
What's more, research suggests that one out of five men over 50 years old get at least one bone fracture in their lives. And though fractures are less common in men (about half of women over 50 are expected to get a bone fracture), the outcomes of their fractures are more serious. "The mortality from fractures is higher in men," says Dr. René Rizzoli, head of the Division of Bone Diseases at Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland.
Osteoporosis and bone fractures don't have to be a part of the aging process – they can usually be prevented with certain lifestyle changes. Here are 10 simple tips to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Unlike whole-body vibration therapy, the scientific research is pretty clear on cigarettes: Study after study has shown that smoking harms your bones. Worse yet, smoking doesn't attack your bones along just a single avenue, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Smoking reduces the blood supply to bones and the absorption of calcium; the nicotine in cigarettes causes certain cells to make less bone; and smoking affects the breakdown of estrogen, which is important for strong bones in both women and men.
Recent research also suggests that smoking causes a spike in the levels of certain proteins involved with bone resorption. Additionally, smoking is often associated with other risk factors. "Smokers often have other habits that affect bones, such as drinking too much, having poor nutrition, or being underweight," says Dr. Lewiecki.
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