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Osteoporosis Center

Osteoporosis Treatment

Osteoporosis treatment
Treatment for osteoporosis is available.  But it's important to note that there is no current cure for osteoporosis.   Effective treatment can prevent bone fractures, which can make life difficult as you get older.  Treatment therapies will probably focus on one or several of the following:  a healthy diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, an exercise program, and medication.  Let's take a look at possible treatment options:

Diet
Doctors recommend that people diagnosed with osteoporosis have a diet that is rich in calcium and Vitamin D.  With increased age, your body becomes less efficient at absorbing calcium.  Usually, at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium should be taken per day, but spread out, and eaten with food.  Vitamin D is just as essential as calcium, as it allows for calcium absorption.  Although you may be able to increase your body's natural production of vitamin D by increasing your exposure to sunlight, this is not always possible (e.g. if you burn easy) and vitamin D supplements may be helpful.  Talk to your doctor regarding dosage of calcium and vitamin D to meet your body's needs.

Exercise
High-impact exercise is usually best for improving bone density, unless your bones are already weak enough that a fracture is imminent. Running, jogging, hiking, basketball, and skiing are all examples of exercise that can be used to increase bone density and slow down the effects of osteoporosis.  However, while these exercises are great for the bones of your lower body, it is also important to do strength training exercises for your upper body.  Before you begin an exercise program, consult with your doctor.  

Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy may be used through creams, patches, and vaginal rings.   Although hormone therapy was once widely prescribed, this osteoporosis treatment alternative is not as popular now, as there are some safety concerns.  

Medication
Medications can either slow the amount of bone lost, or actually increase bone density.   As with any medications, there are side effects, which should be carefully evaluated with your doctor.   Examples include:  

  • Bisphosphonates
  • Calcitonin
  • Tamoxifen
  • Teriparatide
  • Raloxifene

Prevention
Lifestyle changes and new behaviors can help decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis.  Soy, full of plant estrogens, can help maintain your bone density.  Smoking, excessive drinking, and caffeine will increase bone loss, so avoid these.  Lastly, if you already have osteoporosis, reducing the risk of falling will be helpful in avoiding new fractures. Keep rooms adequately lit, avoid slippery surfaces, and wear shoes with adequate gripping.

Osteoporosis is not curable, but is certainly treatable with the proper combination of methods.  And, preventative techniques can certainly reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis at a later age.  Paying attention to diet, exercise, and bad habits (cigarettes) is one way to start.     

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