Four Osteoporosis Treatment Strategies: A Multifaceted Approach

Osteoporosis is a potentially serious medical condition that afflicts nearly 50 million citizens throughout the industrialized world. Characterized by a loss of bone mass (the word osteoporosis comes from the Greek phrase "porous bones"), patients with this condition are at increased risk of suffering broken bones. Although it is primarily a disease of the elderly, especially post-menopausal women, osteoporosis may also occur in response to some drugs, such as anti-seizure medications.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to treat the condition and help prevent fractures. You'll want to discuss your specific treatment plan with your doctor, but the following strategies are among the most popular. Many of these strategies can be used concurrently to help achieve the best possible results.  

1. Medications

There are a number of different medications that can help slow the loss of bone mass and help prevent fractures. Bisphosphonates are one of the most commonly prescribed classes of drugs for treating osteoporosis, and they help reduce the risk of fractures by as much as 50 percent.

Raloxifene is also a common medication used to treat osteoporosis. The body uses this medication in much the same way that it uses estrogen, however it doesn't increase the risk of suffering a stroke or developing breast cancer like estrogen does. Denosumab is another drug commonly prescribed for osteoporosis, and it is especially helpful for patients suffering from kidney disease.  

2. Nutritional Support

One of the simplest ways to support your bones is by consuming enough dietary calcium. Postmenopausal women who are not on hormone replacement therapy should consume about 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, while postmenopausal women who do take supplemental hormones should only consume about 1,000 milligrams on a daily basis. Men should typically consume about 1,000 milligrams per day until reaching 70 years of age, at which time they should increase the daily dosage to 1,200 milligrams.

3. Exercise

Moderate exercise can help to strengthen your bones, which will make them less likely to break, as well as your muscles, which will help make it easier for you to keep your balance and avoid falls. Running, jogging, weight-lifting and sports are all great ways to get some exercise and strengthen your bones. Swimming and other low-impact exercises are not as helpful for strengthening bones, although they still help build your muscle mass.

4. Fall Prevention

Most broken bones associated with osteoporosis result from falls, so it is important to analyze your home and eliminate any trip hazards. It is also a good idea to have hand rails installed near any stairs or narrow walkways, to give you something to hold onto while you walk. Also, you'll want to make sure to use adhesive stickers or other grip-enhancing devices in your shower, tub or any other places with slippery surfaces.


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