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Health News - Around Alhambra - Alhambra Chamber of Commerce

Osteoporosis: Not only a concern for women; men can also suffer from it!
By Richard Chao, M.D.

June is National Men's Health Awareness Month. Most men have heard from their own physicians or public media about heart attacks, stroke, smoking related lung diseases, prostate enlargement and the multitude of cancers that they can get: lung, prostate, colon, lymphoma, etc. However, most men don?t know that they can also develop a serious problem that is usually associated with women: Osteoporosis.

In osteoporosis, there is loss of the internal supporting framework and the calcium cement within the bones of the skeleton, resulting in loss of bone mass. This is analogous to building a block retaining wall, where you forget to put in the metal support rods
(rebar) and only pour in half the usual amount of cement mortar. The wall or bones would therefore not be as strong as normal, and can break more easily. With osteoporosis, the bones most commonly fractured are the hip, spine vertebral body, humerus and radius (upper and lower arm).

The factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis in men are: age over 70 years, low body weight (body mass index less than 25), recent weight loss (greater than 10%), physical inactivity, use of oral corticosteroids, androgen-deprivation therapy (Lupron therapy or orchiectomy) and previous fragility fracture. Cigarette smoking and low dietary intake of calcium may also result in loss of bone mass.

The American College of Physicians recommends that older men should be screened for osteoporosis risks and those men with an increased risk should undergo bone density testing with DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry). This is a simple, 5 -minute scan of your lumbar spine and hip to measure the internal bone density. This test is available at most hospitals and at PMIOC.

Although you can?t reverse aging, you can decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis and decrease the severity of bone loss. These suggestions would also apply to women.
Eat nutritious, calcium rich foods, including broccoli, spinach, dairy and soy products. Exercise regularly with weight bearing exercises: walking, running, tennis, dancing, and weights. Pilates and yoga can help improve your core strength and balance, to decrease falls. Stop smoking. Follow your physician or pharmacist?s instructions concerning all medications, including those that combat osteoporosis.

Additional information can be found at the websites of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF.org) and American College of Physicians (ACP.org), or follow the link from PMIOC.com.

Richard Chao, M.D. is a board certified radiologist with 25 years experience, specializing in MRI and molecular imaging. He is the medical director of Pacific Medical Imaging and Oncology Center, located at 707 S. Garfield Ave., Suite B-001, Alhambra. Call (626) 227-2727 or visit www.PMIOC.com for more information.