What Can I Do for My Osteoporosis?
Treating osteoporosis means stopping
the bone loss and rebuilding bone to prevent breaks. Diet
and exercise can help make your bones stronger. But they may
not be enough if you have lost a lot of bone density. There
are also several medicines to think about. Some will slow
your bone loss, and others can help rebuild bone. Talk with
your doctor to see if one of these might work for you:
medicines slow the breakdown of bone and increase bone
density. They can make it less likely that you will
break a bone, most of all in your spine, hip, or wrist.
Side effects may include nausea, heartburn, and stomach
pain. A few people have muscle, bone, or joint pain
while using these medicines. These drugs must be taken
in a certain way—when you first get up, before you have
eaten, and with a full glass of water. You
should not lie down, eat, or drink for at least
one-half hour after taking the drug. Even if you follow
the directions closely, these drugs can cause serious
digestive problems, so be aware of any side effects.
These pills are available in once-daily, once-a-week,
and once-a-month versions.
Raloxifene. This drug is used
to prevent and treat osteoporosis. It is a SERM
(selective estrogen receptor modulator). It prevents
bone loss and spine fractures but may cause hot flashes
or increase the risk of blood clots in some women.
Estrogen. Doctors sometimes
prescribe this female hormone around the time of
menopause to treat symptoms like hot flashes or vaginal
dryness. Estrogen also slows bone loss and increases
bone mass in your spine and hip, so women can use it to
prevent or treat osteoporosis. But, estrogen use is
thought to be risky for some women. Talk to your doctor.
Ask about the benefits, risks, and side effects, as well
as other possible treatments for you.
Calcitonin. This hormone
increases bone mass in your spine and can lessen the
pain of fractures already there. It comes in two forms—a
shot or nasal spray. The shot may cause an allergic
reaction and has some side effects like nausea,
diarrhoea, or redness in your face, ears, hands, or
feet. The only side effect of the nasal spray is a runny
nose in some people. Calcitonin is most useful for women
who are 5 years past menopause.
Parathyroid hormone (PTH).
Also called teriparatide, this shot is given daily for
up to two years to postmenopausal women and men who are
at high risk for broken bones. It improves bone density
in the spine and hip. Common side effects include
nausea, dizziness, and leg cramps.
Source: National Institute on Aging
Part 1: Osteoporosis - The Bone Thief
Part 2: Osteoporosis - How Can I Keep My Bones Strong?
Part 3: What Can I Do About My Osteoporosis?
Part 4: How Can I Keep From Falling?
Part 5: Men and Osteoporosis