Osteoporosis is one of the most common bone diseases that affects more than 50% of women above the age of 50-years-old. Characterized by frequent bone fractures in the hip, wrist, or spine, this bone condition cannot be reversed, but can be treated in different ways. The treatment approaches include different methods, which are often mentioned as CDEs of osteoporosis. 'C' stands for calcium, ‘D' is for vitamin D, and ‘E’ stands for exercise that particularly those exercises that put stress on bones. Furthermore, there are medications that are recommended for improving bone strength.
Medications used to improve bone strength include:
- Medications that reduce bone loss by inhibiting the functioning of cells that break down bones are recommended to alleviate the symptoms of this condition. These drugs belong to the category of bisphosphonates, and are some of the most commonly prescribed medications. These medications should be taken as per the prescription, as they may cause ulcers if taken otherwise.
- Medications used to improve bone strength are given as an infusion once a year. This helps to reduce the risk of bone fractures.
- Estrogen therapy is recommended to maintain bone density in women after menopause. Medications that mimic the effect of estrogen are often used to avoid the risks associated with estrogen.
- In men who have osteoporosis that is caused by an age-related decline in hormonal levels, testosterone replacement therapy seems to improve the condition by increasing bone density.
- Teriparatide and denosumab are also used to treat osteoporosis, though both are not as common as other medications.
Healthy nutrition and diet is the best way to alleviate symptoms of this bone condition. Having food that contains more calcium, like non-fat milk, cauliflower, tofu, and leafy green vegetables, ensure the daily recommended value of 1,000 mg of calcium. Those who are above the age of 50-years-old should try to get about 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Calcium supplements are often suggested, especially for women. Absorption of calcium is improved with vitamin D. Including vitamin D-rich foods are ideal to improve bone density and strength.
Avoiding phosphorous-rich foods, like red meat, foods with phosphate additives, and soft drinks, is best. Phosphate-rich foods may promote bone loss. One should also remember to avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, as both affect the absorption of calcium.
Exercise is also critical to have strong bones and to reduce fractures. Weight-bearing exercises, like running, ballet, climbing stairs, aerobics, and weight-lifting help to reduce bone loss and limit one's chances of develop osteoporosis. The ideal regimen for exercise would be for 30 to 40 minutes, three to four times a week.