Treatment for Osteoporosis
Treatment for osteoporosis may involve:
- Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise
- Taking calcium and vitamin D
- Using medicines
Medicines are used to strengthen bones when:
- Osteoporosis has been diagnosed by a bone density study, whether or not you have a fracture.
- A bone fracture has occurred and a bone density test shows that you have thin bones, but not osteoporosis.
Medicines used to treat osteoporosis include:
- Bisphosphonates (the main drugs used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women)
- Estrogens, teriparatide, raloxifene, and calcitonin
Exercise plays a key role in preserving bone density in older adults. Some of the exercises recommended to reduce your chance of a fracture include:
- Weight-bearing exercises -- walking, jogging, playing tennis, dancing
- Free weights, weight machines, stretch bands
- Balance exercises -- tai chi, yoga
- Rowing machines
Avoid any exercise that presents a risk of falling. Also, do not do high-impact exercises that can cause fractures in older adults.
Your body needs calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.
- Adults under age 50 should have 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 - 800 IU of vitamin D daily.
- Women ages 51 to 70 should have 1,200 mg of calcium and 400 - 800 IU of vitamin D a day; men ages 51 to 70 need 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 - 800 IU of vitamin D a day.
- Adults over age 70 should get 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily.
- Your doctor may recommend a calcium supplement<.
- Follow a diet that provides the proper amount of calcium and vitamin D.
Stop unhealthy habits:
- Quit smoking, if you smoke.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can damage your bones. This puts you at risk of falling and breaking a bone.
It is important to prevent falls. The following are suggestions on how to do this:
- Do not take sedating medicines, which can make you drowsy and unsteady. If you must take them, be extra careful when you are up and about. For example, hold on to countertops or sturdy furniture to avoid falling.
- Remove household hazards, such as throw rugs, to reduce the risk of falls.
- Leave lights on at night so you can see better when walking around your house.
- Install and use safety grab bars in the bathroom.
- Make sure your vision is good. Have your eyes checked once or twice a year by an eye doctor.
- Wear shoes that fit well and that have heels. This includes slippers. Slippers that do not have heels can cause you to trip and fall.
- Do not walk outdoors alone on icy days.
Surgery to treat severe, disabling pain from spinal fractures due to osteoporosis include:
- Spinal fusion
Outlook / Prognosis of Osteoporosis
Medicines to treat osteoporosis can help prevent future fractures. But spine bones that have already collapsed cannot be reversed.
Osteoporosis can cause a person to become disabled from weakened bones. Hip fractures are one of the main reasons people are admitted to nursing homes.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Calcium is important for building and maintaining healthy bone. Vitamin D is also needed because it helps your body absorb calcium. Following a healthy, well-balanced diet can help you get these and other important nutrients.
Other tips for prevention:
- Do not drink large amounts of alcohol.
- Do not smoke.
- Get regular exercise.
Medicines can prevent osteoporosis. Your doctor can tell you if any are right for you.
Alternative Names for Osteoporosis
Thin bones; Low bone density