Osteoporosis Treatments

Osteoporosis, Senior Health
on February 29, 2012

Osteoporosis occurs when overall bone density becomes reduced because of calcium loss. It affects about 75 million people in the United States, Europe and Japan, reports the International Osteoporosis Foundation. When osteoporosis strikes, your bones become weaker and are susceptible to breakage.

Once a diagnosis of osteoporosis has been determined, treatments are available. You will work with your doctor to decide what will be most beneficial for your body. The treatment your doctor prescribes will depend on many factors, including your age and the severity of your osteoporosis. Treatments can help control pain, reduce or even stop bone loss, and help to prevent future breaks and fractures.

Medications. Several medications exist for treating osteoporosis. These may come in pill form, nasal spray, injection or liquid. Some must be taken every day while others feature a once-a-month dosage. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “In general, osteoporosis medicines are not recommended for premenopausal women.” The Mayo Clinic lists four common osteoporosis medications: the bisphosphonates alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia) and zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa).

Bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates can significantly reduce the occurrence of bone fractures by maintaining bone density and preventing bone loss. Most bisphosphonates are taken orally; however, zoledronic acid can be dosed intravenously about once a year. Oral dosages will vary and may be daily, weekly or monthly.

Other medications. Calcitonin may be prescribed in the form of nasal spray or as an injection. Like the bisphosphonate medications, it will help to slow down and reduce bone loss. Another drug, raloxifene (Evista), can reduce the risk of spinal fractures by almost 50 percent, reports the New York Times. This medication is similar to tamoxifen, a treatment for breast cancer.

Exercise. Anyone with osteoporosis should be careful to avoid exercise that increases the risk for falls or fractures from impact movements. However, you can work with your doctor to determine the right type of exercise to help your condition. Some exercises that may be considered include walking, yoga, stationary bicycle riding and resistance exercises with weights or elastic bands.

Diet. As with any medical condition, it is important to determine a nutritional plan that best suits your body. Your doctor may recommend adjusting your calcium, vitamin D and protein intake so your body is receiving the amounts it needs to help increase and maintain your bone strength.

If you are suffering from osteoporosis or any other medical condition, be sure to consult with your doctor before changing your diet or exercise routine.