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Exploring and understanding the newest treatment options for Osteoporosis will allow you to lead a better life and cope with the effects of this common disease.

What causes osteoporosis?

Although currently there is no cure or reversal for osteoporosis, there are a number of ways it can be prevented and treated.  Many people each year receive the startling diagnosis of osteoporosis and the condition is most common in women who are of post-menopausal age.  Other risk factors which increase osteoporosis include those with the condition present in their family and people with a small build.

Around 50% of all women and men past the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis related bone fracture.

The most common places a person will experience an osteoporosis related bone fracture include the hip, wrist, or spine, but it can happen in any bone of the body.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the human bones become fragile and more likely to break.  Usually, the bone will lose density, which is a measure of the amount of minerals and calcium in the bone.  Bone is a living tissue and it is constantly being replaced by new bone.  However, osteoporosis happens when the body does not produce enough new bone and when existing bone is reabsorbed by the body.  Calcium is one of the most important minerals needed for helping healthy bones to form and if someone does not receive enough calcium and vitamin D, the bones may become brittle and more prone to breakage.

Women who have gone through menopause will experience a drop in estrogen and it can lead to bone loss.  Other causes of bone loss can include:

  • Low body weight
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Being bed ridden
  • Taking certain medications
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Absence of menstrual period in women for long periods of time
  • Smoking

There are no symptoms of early onset osteoporosis and many times a person will have to experience a bone fracture before being diagnosed with the disease.  Pain from bone fractures can occur suddenly or slowly over time and may be an indication of osteoporosis.  If a person experiences a loss of height over time and has a stopped posture, it can also be prevalent in those with osteoporosis.

How is osteoporosis treated?

While osteoporosis cannot be reserved, there are ways it can be treated.  The main goal for someone diagnosed with osteoporosis is to prevent fractures from occurring.  There are several medications which can be useful in treating osteoporosis and these include the following; estrogen, bisphosphonates, parathyroid hormone, estrogen therapy, hormone therapy and a recently FDA approved RANK ligand inhibitor.  

A person’s physician can help them determine the best treatment options and medications to take to reduce the risks of osteoporosis fractures.

In addition to the medications available for treating osteoporosis, there are a number of lifestyle modifications one can make to help as well.  Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercising, monitoring sodium intake and maintaining an adequate dietary intake of protein are all ways in which a person can strengthen their body and help reduce osteoporosis related bone fractures.

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