Adequate Osteoporosis Treatment Avoids Fractures
When your bone density is low you are at risk for vertebral compression fractures as well as fractures of other bones in other areas. Wrist fractures and hip fractures commonly occur because of osteoporosis.
When discussing appropriate osteoporosis treatments your doctor will need to consider your bone density along with your medical history and your current physical condition.
*Weight Bearing Exercises*
A healthy diet has very little risk of of side effects and is a good place to start. This should include sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Steps for Everyone
Some doctors recommend that all women over 50 should be taking calcium with vitamin D supplements to support bone health.
Giving your body these essential bone building blocks stimulates the formation of new bone. These first and most basic steps should be considered by everyone.
Exercise is good for everyone and anything that you can do will help. Exercises that encourage your body to grow more and stronger bone need to focus on weight bearing exercises.
Weight bearing exercises that force your bones to bear additional stress will stimulate your bones to grow stronger and denser. Walking is good and light jogging is better, exercises with weight machines and/or small free weights can all be helpful for increasing your bone density.
You should always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. He can help you decide appropriate levels of exercise considering your physical condition and health history.
Oscillating Plate Therapy
Some studies have shown that standing on a specially designed vibrating platform can lead to increase bone density. This is thought to occur because it puts small amounts of repetitive stress on the bones which leads the bones to grow stronger.
You and your doctor can also consider medical treatments that may be appropriate for helping you avoid future fractures.
Before We Proceed:
Throughout your life your bones are constantly being remodeled by bone cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The osteoclasts are continually breaking down and resorbing old bone. While at the same time the osteoblasts are steadily creating new bone.
Medical osteoporosis treatments focus on either slowing down the resorption of old bone by the osteoclasts, or speeding up the formation of new bone by the osteoblasts.
Osteoporosis treatment with these categories will increase bone density by slowing down the resorption or break down of existing bone.
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
Hormone therapy (HT)
Brand Names include:
Fosamax, Evista, Others
Osteoporosis treatment with Parathyroid Hormone will increase bone density by speeding up the formation of new bone.
The best treatment for osteoporosis is a healthy diet and some doctors recommend Calcium with Vitamin D supplements for all women over 50 years of age. A healthy diet has very little risk, but sometimes a healthy diet is not enough when your bone density is already low.
These are points to discuss with your doctor.
These medications increase your bone density by slowing down your body's natural breakdown of existing bone. Studies have shown that they can lower the risk of vertebral, hip and wrist fractures by 40-50%.
Biphosphonates can cause nausea, and irritation of your esophagus or stomach. These risks are usually well managed by taking the medicine first thing in the morning with a full glass of water and then not eating for 30 minutes. Dosages that are taken once per week are available, and once per month dosages are being developed.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators(SERMs)
These treatments have been shown to increase bone density but not as much as Biphosphonates. It has been shown to lower the risk of vertebral fractures by 40-50%.
Leg cramps, blood clots, and hot flashes are possible side effects. Some evidence also shows reduced breast cancer risk and lower cholesterol.
Estrogen reduces bone breakdown and has been shown to increase your HDL and triglycerides. When started near menopause there is a 34% reduction of vertebral and hip fractures.
Studies have also shown increased risk of stroke and uterine cancer. Other studies have shown increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.
Calcitonin is a hormone that protects against bone loss by inhibiting bone resorption. It is available as a nasal spray or injection. Studies have shown only a mild reduction in fracture risk. Some doctors use it to relieve pain from a fracture.
Side effects are generally mild with flushing and stomach upset. The nasal spray may also cause runny nose and respiratory symptoms.
This is only available as an injection, and effectiveness that seems to decrease over time. Long term studies are unavailable. It increases the speed of bone formation and has been shown to reduce vertebral fracture risks by 65-70%.
Treatment may be expensive for some people at $7000 per year. Lab animals have developed bone cancer when treated with parathyroid hormone but this has not been shown in humans. Treatments should not be continued for longer than two years.
When left untreated osteoporosis can lead to fractures and when the osteoporosis is severe the risk is high. Osteoporotic fractures often occur without significant trauma. Something as simple as stepping off of a curb or sneezing can cause a fragile bone to snap.
If you have osteoporosis or low bone density you should discuss these risks and benefits with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you.