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Men And Osteoporosis

When most people hear the term, "osteoporosis," they think of women but as News 2's Paul Moniz reports, one in eight men develops osteoporosis.

What's scary is that they may not know it because not all develop the telltale stooped posture.

Not enough doctors or patients are looking for the warning signs, according to geriatrician Dr. Jay Meyerowitz, of Teaneck-based, Our Parents' Health, who says the so called "silent disease" affects as many men as prostate cancer, yet too often goes undetected.

"There's no symptoms," he says, "with the exception of height loss."

Dr. Meyerowitz says most men are under the misconception that growing older means getting shorter, but he stresses you should lose no more than one half inch to three-quarters of an inch from your height as a young adult. Any more probably means osteoporosis.

"It's absolutely not a normal part of aging," Dr. Meyrowitz stresses. "It's abnormal and it should be investigated."

Certain medications including steroids, as well as a decrease in hormones, can cause osteoporosis. That's why women with the condition are often given estrogen replacement therapy.

Some men receive testosterone patches or injections, but not all. Others are told to exercise more, take calcium supplements and drugs called biphosphonates, which can build normal bone.

Bone specialists say men age 60 and older should have a bone density test if they've lost height. It’s a painless, low dose x-ray that measures the spine and hips for signs of bone loss.

Yearly tests are recommended for those who have the disease.

The bottom line is that osteoporosis in both men and women is treatable. Early intervention is key because once you lose height, you don’t get it back again.

Insurance usually covers a bone density test if you already have some height loss.

The test can run between $150 and $300.

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