I was a bit skeptical when I spotted this article, http://www.irishmedicalnews.ie/articles.asp?Category=news&ArticleID=19654, which features a professor claiming the osteoporosis rate in men is increasing because of added stress in their lives.
The argument is that men's increased production of stress hormones in a "busy world" has led to a reduction of testosterone, a hormone known to preserve bone health. I don't quibble with the science, but is our world really that much more stressful than that of previous generations who endured two world wars and other assorted challenges without many of our treasured modern conveniences (say, modern dentistry and indoor plumbing, to name a few)?
In addition, there was no mention in the article of the increased rates of longevity for men (who have been steadlily closing the gap with women in recent years) as a possible explanation of the rise in osteoporosis. After all, men who survive to more advanced age, 80s or 90s even, would be more likely to experience bone deterioration and fracture than those who die of cardiac disease or lung cancer in their 60s or 70s.
If Professor O'Brien is right, however, I suppose it explains why osteoporosis rates are so much higher in women than men -- I guess we ladies suffer the most stress of all!
Published On: October 29, 2007