Osteoporosis is a common disease of bone loss which often occurs in postmenopausal women. One in two women over the age of 50 will have either a hip,spine or wrist fracture during their lifetime. Stress fractures of the foot may be a result of osteoporosis.

Men over the age of 60 are at increased risk.

Some medications thin bone. These include corticosteroids (prednisone), Dilantin, Heparin, PPI (medicines that treat heartburn and indigestion), SSRI (medications to treat anxiety and depression), and testosterone lowering medications used to treat prostate cancer (Lupron).  Some intestinal conditions block the absorption of vitamin D and calcium in the small intestine. This includes lactose intolerance, celiac and Crohn’s disease.

Low bone mass and osteoporosis can lead to fractures often of the spine and hip. The impact of having a severe fracture can be life changing for not only the patient but their family. After a fracture many patients will no longer be able to adequately care for themselves and find themselves moving in with family or to an extended care facility. There is also high mortality rate in the first year after having a hip fracture.

The good news is; preventive treatment is available for those with low bone mass and osteoporosis. This includes taking adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
The following oral medications are alendronate, risedronate and ibandronate. Side effects of these meds may be indigestion and digestion problems. An important alternative are injectable and intravenous medicines.
See the below for a list of these Osteoporosis medications.

Impact of Osteoporosis

  • 10 million people have osteoporosis.
  • 34 million people have low bone mass.
  • 40%-50% of women over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetimes.
  • Each year, the risk of suffering a fracture from osteoporosis is greater than the combined risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or breast cancer in woman.

Osteoporosis medications either slow or stop bone loss or rebuild bone. They also reduce the chances of having a broken bone. NOF encourages you to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider. Always look at both the risks and benefits of taking a medication, including potential side effects.
For an osteoporosis medication to work, a person still needs to get enough calcium and vitamin D and to exercise. According to NOF recommendations, adults under age 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of vitamin D daily. Adults 50 and over need 1,200 mg of calcium and 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. There are two types of vitamin D supplements. They are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Previous research suggested that vitamin D3 was a better choice than vitamin D2. However, more recent studies show that vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 are equally good for bone health. Vitamin D3 is also called cholecalciferol. Vitamin D2 is also called ergocalciferol.

Note: This information is from the National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Visit the NOF website at www.nof.org for further information.

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