Treatment Options

October 14, 2011

The best treatment for osteoporosis is prevention. Adequate calcium consumption and weight-bearing exercise by adolescent and young adult women can increase peak bone mass which can reduce bone loss and lower the risk of fractures in later years.

The best treatment for osteoporosis is prevention. Adequate calcium consumption and weight-bearing exercise by adolescent and young adult women can increase peak bone mass which can reduce bone loss and lower the risk of fractures in later years. Adequate consumption of calcium and vitamins is essential throughout adulthood for healthy bones.

In early menopause, women should take estrogen to prevent postmenopausal bone loss. A progestational agent must also be used if her uterus is intact. Estrogen replacement is an effective treatment to prevent postmenopausal bone loss and is effective in the prevention of fractures in women with established low bone mass or osteoporosis. Hormone replacement requires close and regular medical supervision and careful selection of patients.

If a postmenopausal woman with established low bone mass or osteoporosis has a contraindication to hormone replacement therapy, biphosphonates (alendronate or etidronate) and calcitonin are effective treatments to prevent bone loss.

Lower extremity exercises such as walking and back extension exercises can stabilize or slightly increase bone mass and improve balance, and can strengthen muscles to prevent falls and fractures.

Initially, fractures of the spine must be treated with rest, pain relievers, a back brace, and rehabilitation treatments. Other possible treatments being investigated include vitamin D, fluoride and parathyroid hormone.

The devastating effects of osteoporosis can be prevented. That's why it's important to work with your health care provider, know something about the disease, and understand what to do if it becomes an issue in your life. The following information -- on early detection, exercise, diet, medication, and safety -- may help.