FOUR PACKS IS DEDICATED TO “IDEAL SHAPE” FOR MEN OVER 40…AND YES, THAT MEANS THAT AVOIDANCE OF OSTEOPOROSIS IS OF PARAMOUNT CONCERN…A HEALTHY, WHOLE FOOD DIET REPRESENTS ABOUT 80% OF THE EMPHASIS HERE BUT EXERCISE, ESPECIALLY WEIGHT-BEARING EXERCISE HELPS MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS AND RESULTS IN MAINTENANCE OF BONE DENSITY…JUST TAKING AN ANTI-OSTEOPOROSIS DRUG LIKE FOSAMAX IS NOT THE ANSWER…READ BELOW….
The recent mistrial concerning claims that Merck’s anti-osteoporosis drug Fosamax allegedly weakens jaw bone tissue reminds us of the rather complicated issues many older people face in dealing with bone density problems. By some estimates half of all women and one third of all men over 65 will develop bone density problems.
While the Fosamax lawsuit only involved jaw bones, more general allegations suggest the possibility that bisphosphonates like Fosamax may not simply slow the loss of old bone but may also inhibit the formation of new bone. So far such claims do not appear to be supported with sufficient evidence.
Aging generally leads to weaker bones. For young people the bone renewal process of new bone replacing old bone keeps up at a relatively even pace at least until somewhere around age 30 to 35. Unfortunately as one ages the pace of new bone creation declines while old bone destruction continues at the same old rate.
Some of this gap is an inevitable aspect of aging while some may be due to the tendency of older people to cut back on tasks involving physical exercise. This is especially true for people who had physically demanding jobs who do not replace their work activity with equally demanding physical activity in retirement.
A simple heal test may provide the first indication of trouble. A more extensive (and expensive) body scan from the neck through the hips can provide a more comprehensive and reliable reading.
A T-score of -1 means your bone density is one standard deviation below normal. T-scores between -1 and -2.5 indicate osteopenia. T-scores below -2.5 indicate osteoporosis. A T-score of -2.5 corresponds to a bone density two and a half standard deviations below normal.
Scientific research has shown that bones under stress grow faster than those not subject to stress. This use-it-or-lose-it situation means that a lack of weight-bearing exercise can lead first to osteopenia and eventually to osteoporosis.
This problem may be worse for those who have lost a great deal of weight as they have become older. It is one of the few drawbacks to weight loss for older Americans.
The ideal solution to this problem for older Americans is to take up weight-bearing exercise of some sort. Filling coat pockets with rocks or other heavy weights before going for a walk may be helpful. Taking up weight lifting may also be effective. This is especially important for those wishing to avoid the side-effects and expense of drugs.
If you can’t find a weight-bearing exercise that is sufficiently effective to stop or reverse your bone loss, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about taking a drug to increase your bone density.
The ideal bone density drug would be one that would increase the rate of new bone creation to bring it back to where it was in your youth. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing the drugs generally available on the market are designed to simply slow down the loss of old bone.
Throughout your life your body replaces old bone with new bone for a reason. Over time the old bone deteriorates and needs to be replaced with new bone. A drug that only causes your body to hold onto old bone without increasing the rate of formation of new bone is not ideal. It would be much better if a drug could be created to stimulate the creation of new bone instead.
Calcium has been deemed essential for strengthening bones. Vitamin D is needed to assist in the absorption of calcium. For men some studies have found an association between high levels of calcium and prostate cancer. However, no causal link has been established. Perhaps too much calcium leaves insufficient vitamin D for the needs of the prostate. A lot more research is needed to figure out exactly what is happening.