illustration of a pink flamingo

Ever time I see a photograph or representation of what bones with progressive osteoporosis look like , I take a deep breath and  sit up straight and exhale deeply.  Biology is not always destiny but it is a factor in this bone robbing, early-death entrenching disease.  My mother and grandmother were the classic “tiny little white women” who are prone to the disease.  They lived long lives (89 and 90 respectively) but with dowager humps and  greatly shortened stature.

Gentlemen do not tune out as this means you too!  This disease also strikes men as they age, but more often because of medications and lifestyle choices. These factors may be more controllable than heredity.  Unfortunately,  unless already grossly affected, most men would pause at the idea of going for a regular dexascan to measure their bone density.  With men living longer there is more probability:http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/men.asp

My now retired Osteo specialist doctor told me, be glad you take after your father.  Being once 5 foot  10 and now 5 foot  8, I  guess I will never be a little old lady. I practice my Tai Chi , do strength training and practice  simple balancing on one leg at a time, called uni pedal standing ( always , always next to a counter or  inside a door frame for safety. See: DISCLAIMER claimer section:).

I  center my weight over my hip joint, if even for few seconds at a time. You may want to discuss this with your physician. Studies with Japanese women  have proven to  actually increase bone density in the hips with this practice. For once a study just on female subjects:  http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/FlamingoesandOsteoporosis.htm  

Yes, there are newer drugs but with rare side effects like exploding thigh bones  and rotting lower jawbones. Reading  about  this is what got me started on this post and thinking about all the choices we have to make to manage our health.   These catastrophic consequences are in the low end statistical possibility.  There are  supplements of course, but even that can also be controversial. I was told that at some point I will probably need to take medication but to wait until it is really necessary.  He probably was implying hope for better drugs!

So although osteoporosis is thought of as a women’s disease, and sometimes over treated as such, men can end up with the same devastating outcomes.   It was difficult just coming up with a name for this post so my male readers would not ignore it. Aging in men and women does not always provide  equal opportunity for some ailments, but as we live longer there is more to be vigilant about.