Every year millions of people, mainly post-menopausal women, are diagnosed with osteoporosis, an abnormal loss of bony tissue resulting in fragile, porous bones. Fortunately, there are many treatments available from both prescription drugs and natural supplements. The most common drugs prescribed by doctors are bisphosphonates, which have been shown to reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. They are taken orally via tablet under the following names:
Taken by injection once per year:
Zoledronic Acid (Reclast)
Alternatives to Bisphosphonates
While these bisphosphonate drugs are very effective in reducing bone loss, many patients do experience mild to severe side effects. These can include heartburn; painful swallowing; chest, bone or muscle pain; stomach upset or even osteonecrosis of the jaw (also known as jaw bone death). As an alternative, doctors may prescribe Raloxifene (brand name Evista) that is not a bisphosphonate. It has the added benefit of possibly lowering the risk of invasive breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
Historically, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was a popular treatment for osteoporosis. However a 2002 study by the Women's Health Initiative found an increased risk of invasive breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots in women who took estrogen plus progestin for long periods of time. In the same year, the National Cancer Institute study found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in those who took estrogen for hormone replacement therapy. Today many doctors are now discouraging the long-term use of HRT for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Calcitonin (Calcimar) is also a hormone that inhibits the cells that break down bone and decreases further bone loss in patients diagnosed with osteoporosis. Administered by nasal inhaler or as an injection, the results from Calcitonin have been found to be significantly less than that of bisphosphonates or estrogen and may be limited to the spine.
Natural Osteoporosis Treatment and Prevention
The very best way to prevent osteoporosis is by diet and exercise, starting at a very early age. Those who limit the use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, perform weight bearing exercises and take calcium and Vitamin D supplements reduce their risk of losing bone density. Don't let osteoporosis sneak up on you, be sure to ask your doctor about DEXA scan testing, to assess your bone mineral density.
This article was written to support Natural Osteoporosis Treatment Options.