The term osteoporosis literally means “porous” or “hollow” bones. It occurs when bones lose an excessive amount of their protein and mineral content, particularly calcium. Osteoporosis generally afflicts people above 50 years of age, but can affect people of young age too.
Osteoporosis in young males is nowadays becoming an increasingly important public health issue. About 30 percent of fractures occurring in young males are due to osteoporosis. The primary cause of osteoporosis in men is the excess use of glucocorticoid (cortisone or prednisone) for longer period. The other major cause of development of osteoporosis in young males is hypogonadism which prevents the bone from achieving desired bone mass. Secondary risk factors for the development of osteoporosis in young males are consumption of alcohol and smoking. Alcohol and excess smoking damage the liver, which can effect vitamin D metabolism, as well as suppress the formation of male hormone in the testes. Alcohol probably damages bone through direct negative effect on the bone forming cells. Whereas tobacco is linked to an increased incidences of vertebrae fractures in men, most likely due to vascular problems.
Nutrition is also a secondary factor. Particularly those who consume less calcium and vitamin D have very low bone density and have greater risk of developing osteoporosis at a young age.
Apart from this, young males with the following history have greatest risk of developing osteoporosis than the male who have no such history:
- Genetics: If the young man's mother or father had osteoporosis, then that individual is more likely to have osteoporosis than the male whose parents have no such history.
- Kidney stones: Young men with kidney stones are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Pituitary problems or problems with male hormone production: Young men who have experienced either problem are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
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