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HealthPerks-Arthritis

Arthritis/Osteoporosis in Men

Although it is true that more than 60% of those who will be diagnosed with arthritis are female, that still leaves over 22 million men facing this diagnosis in the coming years.

Arthritis is a term that refers to joint inflammation. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is the result of common wear and tear of the cartilage in your joints. As cartilage begins to deteriorate, its ability to act as a shock absorber between bones decreases. This leads to joint stiffness, pain, limited mobility, and swelling and increases in prevalence as you age. It’s no secret that pain and immobility in your joints can lead to down time and loss of productivity. In fact, arthritis is the second leading cause of disability in the US.

Before age 40, men are more likely than women to develop osteoarthritis. Many times, this is due to sports injuries. Studies show that over 40% of people with knee injuries earlier in life develop osteoarthritis as they age. This is especially pertinent for men, as they participate in sports over a lifetime in greater numbers than women.

Osteoporosis, or the process of bones becoming weak and brittle, is another concern for the aging population. Different than arthritis in that it affects the bones themselves rather than the joints in between, osteoporosis is a painful and often-times debilitating disorder. And many people are surprised to learn that osteoporosis is not just an issue of concern for postmenopausal women. In fact, more than two million men suffer from osteoporosis, and another 12 million may be at risk – particularly if they have low testosterone.

What does all of this mean to you? Although women are more likely to develop arthritis and osteoporosis, the complications from these disorders can be worse for men. Further, the actual occurrence may be skewed because men are less likely to be screened, thus impacting the data available to doctors. Men are more prevalent in the workforce, and men in the Baby Boomer generation are more likely than women to continue working past retirement age. Should you fall and break a bone because of osteoporosis or become bed-ridden because of the pain from arthritis, your earning potential for your family can be greatly impacted.

There are steps you can take to decrease to protect your bone and joint health. The first of these steps is to visit your doctor and determine whether you have a hereditary or situational predisposition for arthritis or osteoporosis. Additionally, eating right and exercising can decrease the severity of your symptoms.

El Camino Hospital can help. Our Men’s Health Program offers confidential services to men and is lead by a team of doctors dedicated to men’s health issues.

Learn more about the services offered at El Camino Hospital’s Men’s Health Program. And be sure to save the date for our annual Men’s Health Fair, June 18th at our Los Gatos campus. Watch for more information on how to register.

This article first appeared in the May 2016 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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