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What are the Different Types of Osteoporosis Treatment?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 May 2019
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Osteoporosis is a gradual weakening of the bones and loss of bone mass. It is most often seen as beginning to develop in postmenopausal women, especially if they are thin and small-framed. It can develop in other people and might be caused by other treatments or illnesses that result in bone loss. Several suggested osteoporosis treatment types exist, many of them involving use of medication. Some treatments also take steps for the prevention of injury as well.

Some osteoporosis treatment options are being reviewed because they have shown to be more potentially risky than previously thought. This is very much the case with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which used to be routinely prescribed, especially for post-menopausal women, to address bone loss. Unfortunately, while the medical community declared this therapy perfectly safe for many years, researchers found otherwise, and showed increased risk of blood clots, stroke, ovarian cancer and breast cancer for those people undergoing HRT.

Given these elevated risks, it still may be important to consider hormone replacement therapy. A good place to discuss this and other osteoporosis treatments is with a trusted doctor. There are other options that might be considered instead.

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A number of medicines may be taken orally, infused intravenously, or injected, and these could help retard bone loss. They have also been shown to potentially create bone regeneration, which may be of great use to people with huge reductions in bone mass. Some of the names of these medicines, called bisphosphonates, are probably quite familiar since they are advertised frequently. People may recognize Boniva®, Fosamax&reg, and Actonel®, for instance.

As with hormone therapy, there can be side effects with some of these medications, including stomach upset. One rare side effect is deterioration of the jawbone, called osteonecrosis. Incidence of this occurring is rare, but still needs to be considered when deciding on the best osteoporosis treatments.

Other osteoporosis treatments that are medications are based on body hormones and may have some effect on bone stability and integrity. These are usually not first line treatments, but could be tried when bisphosphonates or HRT are not appropriate. In addition to medication, there are other recommendations for people with this condition.

A gold standard osteoporosis treatment, advised in conjunction with many medications, is taking calcium and vitamin D. Those who can drink milk should, and others should look for a good supplement. It also helps to be physically fit and have a regular activity program that works on balance and muscle stability. Gentle yoga may be good for this and walking is recommended, too.

As osteoporosis worsens, one of the big risks is falling, since fractures may so easily occur. People should make sure the home is easy to walk through, consider wearing shoes that protect balance, and avoid activities that might cause a fall. Another osteoporosis treatment recommendation is avoiding activities that might create balance issues, such as drinking more than two alcoholic drinks in a sitting.

Osteoporosis treatment is not yet perfected, though it is certainly improving. New ideas may be developed at any time, and it’s advised people check with their doctors periodically. Planning how to handle this condition with a trusted physician is always an important part of skillful treatment.

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