Clarifying a common misconception about osteoporosis

While all of us would like to think that we are invincible, the truth -- however hard it might be to accept -- is that our bodies will break down as we age, making us more susceptible to certain debilitating medical conditions.

For example, consider that while bone density typically reaches its peak levels during a person's 20s, it typically starts to decline thereafter, such that the rate of deterioration eventually outpaces the rate at which new bone is created.

When this deterioration becomes so pronounced that it makes a person's bones so brittle and thin that even a minor fall or low stress could result in a fracture, they will likely be diagnosed with osteoporosis.  

In general, those diagnosed with osteoporosis are at an elevated of suffering fractures in the wrist, spine and hip. Depending upon the severity of the condition, a medication called a bisphosphonate may be prescribed to help slow the breakdown of bone and increase bone mass.

While many people believe that osteoporosis is a disease that only affects women, the truth is that it can affect men in very high numbers as well.

If you don't believe it, consider that the National Osteoporosis Foundation has determined that upwards of one in four men in the U.S. age 50 and over will suffer a broken bone because of the disease.

Fortunately, there is now an increased recognition among medical providers for the need to conduct more diagnostic tests on older men to determine if they have the condition, including everything from bone-density scans to blood tests to check calcium levels.    

In fact, the National Bone Health Alliance has been running a year-long pilot program at three U.S. hospitals designed to examine the overall efficacy of ordering bone-density tests for all patients over 50 who have suffered fragility fractures, meaning broken bones not caused by any sort of major trauma.

It's important for both men and women diagnosed with severe osteoporosis to understand that they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, and that a skilled legal professional can help them to learn more about this eligibility and guide them through the entire process of securing benefits.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Men are new target for osteoporosis treatment," Dana Wechsler Linden, March 23, 2015