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.
Hit the Sack
It's no secret that sleep deprivation results in numerous harmful effects, including increasing the risk for obesity, heart disease, and depression, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Research is now starting to suggest that sleep deficiencies can impact your bone health, too.
In 2012, for instance, a study in rats showed that chronic sleep deprivation can cause abnormal bone marrow and bone formation. More recently, scientists discovered that people with sleep apnea are at a heightened risk for osteoporosis. However, more research is needed to definitively link sleep problems with poor bone health. "Despite that we don't have proof [that poor sleep harms bone health], it doesn't mean we shouldn't make sure to get enough sleep," says Dr. Rizzoli.
Credit: Getty Images