If you are one of the 10 million Americans who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis or one of the 34 million Americans with low bone density, no doubt you have talked to your doctor about treatment options. A spine or hip fracture resulting from osteoporosis can be devastating, so it is important to being treatment as soon as possible.
Osteoporosis is a serious health issue, and although there is no cure, many treatments have been developed in recent years. Luckily, these treatments are effective in slowing or stopping bone loss, actually increasing bone density, managing related pain and preventing fractures.
Studies show that exercise and diet are an important part of treating osteoporosis. Simple lifestyle changes can have a big effect. Getting the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D is very important at any age. A dosage of 1200-1500 mg of calcium along with 600-800 IU of vitamin D is recommended. Studies have shown that weight-bearing exercise is key to preventing bone loss. Even walking or jogging can help keep bones strong, retain balance and keep you fit so that you avoid fractures.
For those requiring a more aggressive treatment, there are a number of medications that your doctor can recommend. For menopausal women, estrogen can be an effective treatment for slowing or stopping bone loss. Starting an estrogen patch or pills in menopause can reduce the chance of a hip fracture by up to 50%. Some of the brands of estrogen therapy available are Vivelle, Climara, Estraderm, Esclim and Alora.
Selective estrogen modulators (SERMs) are an alternative treatment that is as effective as estrogen. Evista is a SERM that has been proven effective in slowing bone breakdown. SERMs are appropriate for women who choose not to take estrogen.
Biophosphonates are another treatment option for osteoporosis. These drugs slow down bone loss and can actually increase bone density. Fosomax is one biophosphonate that has been shown to reduce the risk of hip and spinal
Actonel is another biophosphonate that has been proven extremely successful in preventing fractures. In a recent study, it was shown that new
Boniva is a medication which helps reverse bone loss, that is taken only once a month. It can also be given in an injection at your doctor’s office three times per year.
The newest biophosphonate is Reclast, which is taken intravenously only once a year.
Forteo is a powerful medication that works in a different way. It actually stimulates new bone growth, while other medications prevent further bone loss. This drug is still being studied for long-term effects.
There are clearly many options for the treatment of osteoporosis. If you think you are at risk for osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about testing and treatment. Educate yourself on the benefits and possible side effects of each type of treatment, and discuss the options with your health care provider.
Armed with the knowledge of how to prevent osteoporosis and how to fight it with treatment, there is no reason to put yourself at risk.