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Osteoporosis FAQs (cont.)

How Can Osteoporosis Be Prevented?

Osteoporosis is prevented by reaching the peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) during the childhood and teenage years and by continuing to build more bone as one gets older, particularly after the age of 30. A few things that can be done to maintain healthy bone are as follows:

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D by drinking milk or eating milk products.
  • Exercise.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Avoid excessive intake of alcohol.

Be aware that long-term use of some medications such as glucocorticoids (medications prescribed for a wide range of diseases, including arthritis, asthma, Crohn's disease, lupus, and other diseases of the lungs, kidneys, and liver) can lead to a loss of bone density. Contact the treating doctor to discuss either prevention or treatment of osteoporosis under these circumstances.

Other drugs that can cause bone loss include certain antiseizure drugs, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and barbiturates, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs used to treat endometriosis, excessive use of aluminum-containing antacids, certain cancer treatments in both men and women, and excessive thyroid hormone. Talk to the doctor. Also, talk to the doctor about the many medications that are available to delay or prevent osteoporosis.

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