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Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment

The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to reduce the risk of bone fracture by slowing down or preventing further bone loss. Although treatment of osteoporosis can reduce the risk for a subsequent fracture, but it can’t completely rebuild bone that has been weakened by osteoporosis. Thus, prevention of osteoporosis is preferable to treatment. There are few simple steps that you can take to prevent or reduce your risk of a fracture.

1. 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 Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium for women between the ages of 19 and 50 years is 1000 milligrams (mg); for women over age 50 is 1200 mg. For pregnant and lactating women, the RDA is 1000-1300 mg, depending on age. For men between the ages of 19 and 70 years, the RDA is 1000 mg, and for men over age 70 is 1200 mg.

The foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, spinach, kale, tofu, etc.

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for individuals from age 1 to 79, and 800 IU for people over 70 years.

The safe upper limit of daily intake for most age groups is 4,000 IU, 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.

If you are not getting enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet, supplements can be helpful.

2. Exercise regularly

Exercise can improve bone mass in premenopausal women and help maintain bone density for women after menopause. It also can reduce the risk of hip fractures in older women. Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination each week.

For additional health benefits, muscle-strengthening exercises should also be performed at least twice a week. Try combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing exercises.

Strength training exercises can help strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine, while weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, running, and stair climbing, help to strengthen the muscles and bones in your legs, hips and lower spine.

3. Stop smoking

Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. If you do smoke, you can lower your risk by reducing or quitting smoking. Check out these tips to help you quit smoking.

4. Avoid or limit alcohol intake

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may decrease bone formation. Being under the influence of alcohol also can increase your risk of falling. If you do 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.

Treatment of Osteoporosis

Treatment for osteoporosis involves a combination of a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise, fall prevention, and medications.

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at high risk for 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). These drugs mimic 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) and Fareston® (toremifene).
  • RANK-ligand inhibitors. They work by preventing bone fractures and strengthening the bones. They are usually given by injection under the skin every six months. Examples of RANKL inhibitors include Prolia® (denosumab).
  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH). It is an anabolic treatment for osteoporosis that stimulates new bone growth and reduces fracture risk. PTH is generally reserved for individuals with severe osteoporosis. Studies have shown that it can increase bone mineral density and decrease fracture risk. It is self-administered as a daily injection under the skin for 12–24 months. Examples of Parathyroid hormone include Forsteo® (teriparatide).

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