Popular treatment options for osteoporosis
The weakening of bones and increased chances of bone fracture are the major characteristics of osteoporosis. Bones become unusually porous and compressible like a sponge. This weakens the structure of the skeleton leading to easy fragmentation of bones. People think that only older women are affected by osteoporosis, but it affects both the genders. The bone density starts reducing after the age of 35 to 40 years, and the decline is faster in women after menopause.
Prime factors behind osteoporosis include genetics, the absence of certain hormones like estrogens in women and androgen in men, lack of exercise, lack of calcium and vitamins, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, history of rheumatoid arthritis, low body weight, and family history of osteoporosis.
Diagnosis is mainly done by X-rays and confirmed by bone density tests. In the early stages of the disease, there might be a slight pain in the bones or muscles, specifically low back pain or pain in the neck. As the disease progresses, the pain starts suddenly for no apparent reason and does not extend to other areas. The pain might become more severe if more pressure is put on these areas.
Best osteoporosis treatment is aimed at reducing the loss of minerals, enhancing the bone density, keeping in check the pain caused by the disease, and thwarting frequent fractures of bone. Osteoporosis treatments include medications, stopping smoking, cutting the use of alcohol, exercising adequately, and increasing the intake of calcium and vitamin D.
Osteoporosis – Treatment
The following latest treatment for osteoporosis is a combination of the diet, exercise, and medicine.
A series of medications are recommended by specialists for osteoporosis treatment.
- Estrogens: Replacement of estrogens is carried out to treat osteoporosis as it can reduce the loss of bone mass. If women who have just entered the stage of menopause begin estrogens treatment, which can help in eliminating the risk of future hip bone fractures. Estrogens can be taken in oral form as well as a transdermal skin patch. Estrogens replacement therapy can also be taken by women past their menopause as it has been proven effective in osteoporosis treatment.
- SERMs: SERMs referring to Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators is the latest in osteoporosis treatment. These are an option for women who are not able to or do not want to take estrogens. This may be in cases such as women with a family history of breast cancer because the treatments carried out in certain breast cancer also help in bone preservation.
- Calcium: Calcium tablets are advised apart from estrogens therapy to increase bone mass. The body can absorb only around 600 mg of calcium at one time, so it is advised to take a supplement each for breakfast and dinner to complete the daily recommendation of 1,200 to 1,500 mg.
- Vitamin D: Available as countertop medication, vitamin D capsules are needed to assimilate bone density. Doctors recommend an intake of around 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
- Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonate medications are known to slow down the loss of bone mass, and in certain cases, they have been known to enhance bone density. Your practitioner can assess the effects of these drugs by getting a DXA done every alternate year and comparing the results. Your doctor will advise you to stand or sit upright, not eat or drink anything except water for half an hour to reduce the risk of heartburn and ulcers in the food pipe. Before starting on a course of these drugs, your physician will ascertain if you have adequate calcium in the blood and if your kidneys are performing at an optimum level.
Maximum bone density is attained by the age of 25 years, after which decline starts accelerated by other factors. Adults near this age are advised to gain optimum bone mass by supplementing their diets with sufficient calcium. An intake of approximately 1000 mg daily is recommended. This can be done by including calcium-fortified orange juice, drinking milk, or having foods rich in calcium content such as salmon. Foods high in calcium, phosphates, and vitamins can help prevent and accentuate the osteoporosis treatment. Reducing the consumption of salt, limiting the intake of coffee, tea, soda and decreasing the indulgence of alcohol have been proven in scientific studies as effective ways for osteoporosis treatment.
Exercise is advised to maintain normal body weight. A weight-bearing exercise which is essentially light in nature should be carried out such as walking, doing aerobics, swimming or riding stationary bicycles among others. It has been seen in studies that exercise forces the muscle to tug on the bone helping it to retain density. Ensure that you consult your doctor before starting on an exercise regime.
A consultation with a bone specialist also called an orthopedic surgeon is necessary for managing bone fractures of the spine, hip or waist. Other than this, people with a history or heredity of bone fractures are advised to consult a physical or occupational therapist who can guide them about some safe ways to exercise.
Osteoporosis cannot be entirely reversed, but it can be effectively managed.