Osteoporosis is a state in which the bones become weak and brittle, guiding to a high risk of breakage than in normal bone. Here we describe on different methods to prevent osteoporosis. Some of these include, a regular intake of healthy, nutritious diet; a regular practice of weight-bearing physical exercises such as, dancing, tennis, brisk walking, jogging or climbing up of stairs; gentle exercises focussing on posture and range of motion; and modified strength-training exercises or resistance training exercises. These in fact help augment bone mineral density. Similarly certain lifestyle modifications, such as, cessation of smoking, and evading consumption of alcohol can also be very effective in the prevention of osteoporosis. Recent studies have reported that, if a woman happens to have smoked a pack of cigarettes in a day throughout her adulthood, then by the time she reaches her menopause, she is found to have about 5-10% decrease in the bone density. Similarly, excessive consumption of alcohol, meaning more than three drinks in a day, is highly injurious because of the associated malnutrition, and a higher risk of falling down because of improper balance. Similarly caffeinated drinks should be consumed in a limited quantity. An excessive caffeine is found to affect and hinder calcium absorption in our body.

Hence, the consumption of foods rich in calcium like milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits is highly recommended. Vitamin D, which is synthesized in the skin, plays a vital role in calcium absorption and bone health. Hence, exposure of our skin to sunlight is highly recommended, at least for about 30 minutes during the cooler months; and for about 6-8 minutes in the summer season. Well, most people are able to get sufficient vitamin D naturally, but vitamin D supplementation is essential in elderly people to make sure of an adequate daily intake. At least 1000 mg of calcium per day should be consumed by a premenopausal woman, which in a postmenopausal woman, raises to about 1300 mg per day. The same amount of calcium per day, that is 1300 mg is recommended for elderly men above 70 years of age, as well as in children. Likewise, 800 international units of vitamin D is essential in elderly men and postmenopausal women, which helps prevent the risk of bone loss.

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Prevention of falls: Studies have reported that, about one-third of elderly people, usually above the age of 65 years, fall each year, out of which nearly about 10–15% end up in a fracture. The following measures help in the prevention of such falls – performance of exercises with a view to improve the balance under the guidance of a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist. A continuous wearing of prescribed glasses as instructed by the ophthalmologist is highly recommended. It is advised to keep one’s home trip proofed, for example, removal of loose rugs, installation of handrails in the bathroom and toilet, and proper lighting arrangements in all rooms. the Wearing of a well-fitting, sturdy and flat-heeled footwear is recommended.

Wearing a hip protector: A hip protector is a shield which is worn over the hip, and it is designed to spread out the stressful impact of a fall into the surrounding fat and muscle, thereby not causing much damage to the hip bone. If worn accurately, the risk of hip fracture can be reduced by a hip protector.

Apart from the above-mentioned measures, one should also avoid certain medications which can reduce bone density. Some of such medications include, glucocorticoids like prednisone; anti-coagulants like heparin; vitamin A and a few synthetic preparations like alternate; and anti-convulsive drugs like phenytoin, carbamazepine which should be avoided as a preventive measure against osteoporosis, as these reduce bone density.

Studies conducted by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, which is commonly abbreviated as NOF, in the USA have reported that, treatment with medications is recommended only for postmenopausal women and elderly men, having a T-score below 2.5. Presently, the bone density can be measured more reliably, by the Dual-Energy Absorptiometry Scan, which is abbreviated as DEXA. A DEXA scan is a short, painless scan which commonly gives the measure of the density of bones especially, at the hip and spine.

Medications: There are several medications available for the treatment of osteoporosis, but medications may differ, depending on the tolerance, age and sex of the patient. Bisphosphonates which augment bone density by slowing down the process of bone destruction, is the first choice for the treatment of osteoporosis. Selective estrogen receptor modulators, which is commonly abbreviated as SERMs, are sited in the body of a woman, known as estrogen receptors and respond to the hormone estrogen. SERMs imitate the action of estrogen, and thus bone loss is reduced. SERMs have been reported to lower the risk of spinal fractures, but are found to raise the risk of developing clots and stroke. Strontium ranelate; just like bisphosphonates, strontium ranelate acts by slowing down the process of breaking down of bones, and fastens up the process of building up.

Testosterone therapy: Testosterone replacement helps to improve the bone density, especially in men with clinical features of testosterone deficiency and low levels of testosterone. It is treated by administration of testosterone in the form of injections, intradermal implants, dermal patches, oral tablets, gels or creams for external application. Parathyroid hormone, which is secreted by the parathyroid glands, regulates the levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium in the bones and blood. Parathyroid hormone therapy, which increases bone density and strength, is used mainly for people with severe osteoporosis, in whom other medications are contraindicated or ineffective. Hormone therapy, HT; the female sex hormone, estrogen plays a vital role in the maintenance of bone strength. HT augments estrogen levels and thus prevents osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, but Its long-term use in the treatment of this condition is no longer recommended, because of its side effects such as an increased risk of developing heart attack, breast cancer and stroke.

Other medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration, abbreviated as FDA, for the prevention and/treatment of osteoporosis especially in postmenopausal women are alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate, etidronate, raloxifene, calcitonin, and teriparatide.

Thus we find that, osteoporosis has no standard treatment, it is modified as per the individual’s specific needs.

This Story, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoporosis – Prevention and Treatment was originally published at Rxadvices on December 3, 2012 under Physical Health. Any kind of reproduction needs written consent from Rxadvices. Anybody copying this article is violating the copyrights of our website. If you find this content please notify us at http://www.rxadvices.com We welcome your effort in preventing plagiarism and copyrights violation.

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