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Osteoporosis (cont.)

Medical Treatment

Treatment for osteoporosis focuses on slowing down or stopping the mineral loss, increasing bone density, preventing bone fractures, and controlling the pain associated with the disease.

Some 40% of women will experience a broken bone (fracture) due to osteoporosis during their lifetime. In those who have a vertebral fracture (in their back), one in five will suffer another vertebral fracture within one year. This condition potentially leads to more fractures. This is called a "fracture cascade." The goal of treatment is to prevent fractures.

  • Diet: Young adults should be encouraged to achieve normal peak bone mass by getting enough calcium (1,000 mg daily) in their diet (drinking milk or calcium-fortified orange juice and eating foods high in calcium such as salmon), performing weight-bearing exercise such as walking or aerobics (swimming is aerobic but not weight-bearing), and maintaining normal body weight.
  • Specialists: People who have spinal, hip, or wrist fractures should be referred to a bone specialist (called an orthopedic surgeon) for further management. In addition to fracture management, these people should also be referred to a physical and occupational therapist to learn ways to exercise safely. For example, someone with spinal fractures would avoid touching their toes, doing sit-ups, or lifting heavy weights. Many types of doctors treat osteoporosis, including internists, generalists, family physicians, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, and others.
  • Exercise: Lifestyle modification should also be incorporated into your treatment. Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.
    • Studies show that exercises requiring muscle to pull on bones causes the bones to retain, and perhaps even gain, density.
    • Researchers found that women who walk a mile a day have four to seven more years of bone in reserve than women who don't.
    • Some of the recommended exercises include weight-bearing exercise, riding stationary bicycles, using rowing machines, walking, and jogging.
    • Before beginning any exercise program, make sure to review your plan with your doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/9/2014

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Osteoporosis:

Osteoporosis - Treatment

Please describe how you're treating your osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis - Symptoms

The symptoms of osteoporosis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Osteoporosis »

Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disorder characterized by decreased bone mass and deterioration of bony microarchitecture.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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