Osteoporosis

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Osteoporosis Treatment

While learning and practicing fall prevention methods is important, you may also be prescribed certain treatments for osteoporosis by your healthcare provider. In fact, the people who are a high risk of experiencing osteoporosis-related fractures are likely those who will benefit the most from treatment10 for the disease. In particular, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women over the age of 50 with osteoporosis or a history of hip fractures use medications to treat osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis medications

Your healthcare provider may recommend the following medications to help prevent your osteoporosis from progressing further:

  • Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonates, which help to slow the breakdown of bone, can be taken for many years. However, many people are able to stop taking bisphosphonates after roughly five years because the medication continues to have residual effects in the body.
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs): These medications can help mimic the protective effects of estrogen on the bones.
  • Hormone therapy: Combined estrogen-progestin treatment (which is commonly used as birth control) can reduce a woman’s risk of hip or vertebral fracture. However, these treatments can also increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer and stroke.
  • Parathyroid hormone: Parathyroid hormone medications help combat osteoporosis by stimulating bone formation, rather than halting bone reabsorption (as is the case in other osteoporosis treatments).

Your provider may prescribe the following medications for osteoporosis:

May be prescribed

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Osteoporosis prevention

While some risk factors may put you at a higher likelihood of developing osteoporosis, certain lifestyle changes may help you preserve bone quality and density and prevent fractures from occurring. Some possible preventive measures11 for osteoporosis include12:

  • Exercise: People who are inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Exercise (specifically, exercise that promotes muscle formation) encourages bone strengthening and building. Medical professionals recommend exercising for 30 minutes, three times a week. This can take the form of resistance training, running, walking, or other low impact activities, such as swimming.
  • Diet: Bone density and strength is affected by calcium and vitamin D intake. It may be beneficial to ensure that your diet provides you with sufficient amounts of each. Premenopausal women are recommended to consume at least 1000mg of calcium per day, while postmenopausal women should consume 1200mg per day. It’s important to note that your daily intake of calcium should generally not exceed 2000mg.

Additionally, certain eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are associated with poor or malnutrition. This can cause a person to not get adequate calcium or vitamin D, leaving them more prone to fractures.

  • Tobacco use: Smoking tobacco has been associated with an increased risk of bone fractures. While it’s important to avoid smoking for a variety of health reasons, it’s particularly important that you don’t smoke if you have other risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • Alcohol: People who drink two or more servings of alcohol per day are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Consider moderating your alcohol intake if you currently drink more than two drinks per day (for men) or one drink per day (for women).
  • Avoiding fall risks: Falls increase a person’s risk of fracturing a bone, and fractures happen more easily in people with osteoporosis. You can take measures to prevent fall risks, such as clearing your home’s walking spaces to ensure there are no cords, rugs, or articles of clothing that you may trip over. You can also visit your eye doctor to check your vision, as blurry vision could increase your risk of tripping (and, subsequently, falling).

Osteoporosis diet

Your diet is associated with your overall health, but can even more specifically affect your bone health. Medical experts recommend that people with osteoporosis follow a well-balanced diet with healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and, in some cases, lean meats.

There are certain foods you can eat that will reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis by helping to strengthen your bones. Some of these bone-healthy foods include13:

  • Olive oil
  • Soybeans
  • Blueberries
  • Fish or flaxseed oil
  • Moderate amounts14 of wine, beer, or tea There are also certain foods that, despite being healthy in other ways, may actually interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium. These include:
  • Beans: While beans (legumes) are high in important nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium, they also contain phytates, which may interfere with calcium absorption. This can be counteracted simply by soaking your beans in water prior to cooking them.
  • Meat: Meat is often eaten as a source of protein. However, eating too much protein can decrease the body’s calcium levels.
  • Foods high in sodium: Eating salty foods can cause your body to lose calcium, resulting in a loss of bone density. It’s recommended that you try to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day.
  • Spinach: Spinach, rhubarb, and beet greens are high in oxalic acid (also known as oxalates), which can make it hard for the body to absorb calcium from these foods.
  • Wheat bran: Wheat bran contains high phytate levels and can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the bran itself and from other foods eaten with it. Calcium supplements should be taken at least two hours before or after eating wheat bran.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol intake should be moderated to two drinks per day (for men) or one drink per day (for women), as high alcohol consumption can contribute to bone density loss.
  • Coffee or tea: Some experts suggest that drinking more than 3 cups of coffee or tea per day can contribute to decreased bone density.
  • Sugary drinks: Some soft drinks, such as many popular colas, contain caffeine and phosphorus, which may contribute to bone density loss.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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