The healthcare community spends a lot of time and energy warning women about the dangers of osteoporosis and the ways that their hormone levels can affect their long-term health as they age. What you might not realize is that the same thing is true for men, only it is not the fluctuation in their estrogen levels that affects bone health, but that of their testosterone levels. The medical community spends less time promoting the dangers of low hormone levels in men, but that is partly because of the fact that not all men experience a decline that is sharp enough to warrant caution. All men do experience a decline, though, and hormone replacement can help ward off any additional dangers caused by that decline before they develop.
How Prevalent is Male Osteoporosis?
According to WebMD, 20 percent of those suffering from osteoporosis are men, and that translates to as many as 2 million male patients per year. The site also estimates that as many as 12 million men are at risk each year, so the number of patients who could potentially benefit from therapies that include testosterone replacement is not small. It is a bit surprising that more public health outreach is not being one around the issue.
The Role of Hormone Deficiency in Osteoporosis
When it comes to the action that causes osteoporosis to develop in the body, a man’s hormone level plays a big role—it can affect all of the following:
- Male levels of estrogen, which is derived through conversion
- Bone density
- Metabolic actions that help keep bones strong
- Enzymes related to the conversion of hormones
Studies have shown repeatedly that supplemental hormone therapy helps men build bone mass, but the exact method of action for that recovery of bone is not currently known. Some researchers speculate that the action of the testosterone itself helps benefit the bones. Others maintain that it is in fact the conversion of excess testosterone to estrogen, which has a known mechanism for affecting bone health. Either way, it is clear that testosterone supplements do help and that having the proper levels for male hormones allows the body to regulate other hormone levels efficiently.
Identifying low hormone levels as the cause for osteoporosis is not difficult, but many men do not think to be tested for the condition because it is usually advertised as a health risk for women. That’s why it is important to follow up with your doctor about all of your health indicators and vital signs as you age—otherwise, you might not know what supplemental medications you need to stay healthy.