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What Should I Expect From an Osteoporosis Diagnosis?

Some with osteoporosis need both physical assistance and emotional support.
Osteoporosis is a condition that results in weakened and fragile bones.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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When people get an osteoporosis diagnosis many different things could occur. Deterioration of bone mass could be significant or might be small in scope. What happens when people receive this diagnosis is based on the extent of the disease and whatever predictive measures doctors may employ to determine how swiftly the condition may progress.

Though it may sound strange, initial osteoporosis diagnosis isn’t necessarily an indication for significant treatment. A small amount of bone mass deterioration might simply be watched for a few years to see how the disease progresses. People with disease in early stages could be counseled to eat a high calcium diet and possibly to take calcium supplements and they might be advised to get plenty of exercise. Typically, when diagnosis of osteoporosis is made, doctors will want to follow up at regular intervals and are likely to ask patients to undergo some of the same exams again in about a year’s time.

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If osteoporosis diagnosis suggests a more rapidly progressing illness or greater deterioration of bone mass, more interventions or medical treatment might be recommended. Doctors might advise that patients take a variety of medications that can help retard bone loss or even promote bone growth. Some of these medications for women include estrogens, which are now not routinely prescribed as they once were. Any form of replacement of hormones post-menopause, when osteoporosis often develops, has to be considered carefully, since it can significantly elevate risk for certain forms of cancer. Should estrogen be recommended, patients ought to be prepared for a full explanation from physicians on its benefits and risks.

Estrogens are not the only medicines that might be prescribed with an osteoporosis diagnosis. Bisphosphonates are another option, and these may be delivered in different ways. Some people take them orally, by injection, or through infusion. Other drugs that are useful in treatment of this condition include replicas of certain hormones that might be useful in stalling bone deterioration and preventing fractures.

Drug therapy isn’t the only potential treatment for osteoporosis. As mentioned, modifying diet to increase calcium levels can be valuable. Having a safe and steady exercise plan is also of use, and there some people are now asked after an osteoporosis diagnosis to meet with physical therapists where special exercise plans can be developed that may prevent injury.

All these potential treatments come with continued surveillance. Doctors will want to see how the condition is progressing and responding to any drugs or other therapies used. Surveillance includes thinking about potential for injury in regular settings, and people might also be advised to organize a home or apartment in a way that reduces chance of fractures through tripping or other accidents.

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