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Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment

Treatment for osteoporosis focuses on slowing down or preventing further bone loss. Although early detection and timely treatment of osteoporosis can substantially reduce the risk of future fracture, none of the available treatments for osteoporosis can cure it completely. In other words, it is difficult to completely rebuild bone that has been damaged by osteoporosis. Therefore, prevention of osteoporosis is as important as treatment. Here are some treatment and prevention strategies for osteoporosis.

Get enough calcium and vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D are two nutrients that work together to play an important role in bone health. Calcium is necessary for building new bone, and vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium effectively.

The U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams per day. Post-menopausal women who are not taking estrogen should get 1,500 milligrams per day, as should men once they reach age over 65. The foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, spinach, kale, tofu, etc.

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 400-1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis. For adults over 50, a 800-2,000 IU dose is recommended.

4000 IU is the safe upper limit according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) so make sure not to take more than that without consulting with a health professional.

Vitamin D can easily be obtained by getting 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight exposure a few times a week or by consuming fortified milk, fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, and butter.

For those individuals not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in the diet, supplements can be helpful.

Exercise regularly

Exercises can improve bone mass in premenopausal women and help maintain bone density for women after menopause. It also can reduces the risk of hip fractures in older women as a result of increased muscle strength. Most experts recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Try combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing exercises. Strength training exercise helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine, while weight-bearing exercises – such as walking, jogging, running, and stair climbing – strengthen the muscles and bones in your legs, hips and lower spine.

Stop smoking

cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. If you smoke, you should try to make every effort to stop. Check out these tips to help you quit smoking.

Avoid or limit alcohol intake

Drink excessive amounts of alcohol may decrease bone formation. Being under the influence of alcohol also can increase your risk of falling. If you drink alcohol, limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Medications

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at high risk of a fracture, your doctor will prescribe a medicine to strengthen your bones and help prevent fractures. The following are some common types of osteoporosis medications.

  • Bisphosphonates. These medications slow down bone loss and help repair damaged bone. Examples of Bisphosphonates include Fosamax® (alendronate), Boniva® (ibandronate), Actonel® (risedronate), Reclast® (zoledronic acid).
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). This medicine mimics the action of hormone oestrogen, which slow down bone loss and reduce the risk of spinal fractures in women who have been through menopause. Examples of SERMs include Evista® (raloxifene).
  • RANK inhibitors. They wok by preventing the breakdown of bone, helping to strengthen the bones and lowering the chances of fracture. They are usually given by injection under the skin every six months. Examples of RANK inhibitors include Prolia® (denosumab).
  • Parathyroid hormone. This class of medication stimulate new bone formation and increase bone density. They are given by an injection under the skin every day for two years. Studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of some osteoporotic fractures. But, they only tend to be used if other options cannot be tolerated or taken. Alternatively, they may be used if someone has another fragility fracture and their bone density is getting worse. Examples of Parathyroid hormone include Forsteo® (teriparatide).

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