[Did you know?]

About 2 million American men suffer from osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Q What are the health problems that men ask you about most often?

A Heart disease and diabetes are the most common health issues that men ask me about. They want to know what they can do to live better and more effectively manage their diseases. A balanced diet, regular exercise and appropriate medication can help men live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

Another topic I’m asked about quite often is vitamins and supplements. Men want to know what kinds they should be taking. Some of our most popular supplements for men include glucosamine and chondroitin, saw palmetto, coenzyme Q10, fish oil and multivitamins.

Q What are the most common problems men have with taking medication?

A Many men aren’t comfortable taking lots of pills. They are concerned about drug interactions and side effects. I take a few minutes to discuss what their medicines do, how they work and what patients should do if side effects do occur. If any of their medicines are potentially dangerous in combination with other drugs, or if they have an allergy, Ill contact their physicians to suggest alternatives.

Q Osteoporosis is something men rarely even acknowledge. But it is a problem. What treatments are available?

A Men often think of osteoporosis as a disease that only affects women. But by about age 65 to 70, the rate of bone loss in men matches that in women. This can be a major problem as men get older. Falls can fracture hips and vertebrae, making them a leading cause of permanent disability and death in senior men.

There are several things men can do to prevent bone loss. Alcohol and tobacco use reduce bone density, so quitting or limiting both can help. Regular, weight-bearing exercise like walking, playing sports and lifting weights can increase bone strength.

Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake are also important. The National Institutes of Health recommends a minimum of 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 800 International Units of vitamin D daily. Finally, there are several effective prescription medications for osteoporosis, including bisphosphonates.

Men should talk to their health care providers about any concerns as well as steps they can take to improve their overall health. At Sams Club, your Pharmacist is here to help.