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Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623
419-407-1616

Mercy Women's Care at St. Charles
Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616
696-7900

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608
419-251-4340

Living with Osteoporosis

separator You hear a lot about preventing osteoporosis, but what if you already have the condition? What are the healthiest choices you can make that will help you lead a productive life?

 

There is actually a lot you can do for yourself, including:

 

 Lead a healthy lifestyle

If you smoke, do your best to quit. Nicotine can upset the calcium balance in your body. Caffeine can affect your calcium level too, so reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks.

 

 Follow an exercise program

Even if you have had a fracture, if you are frail or if you fall frequently, an exercise program will still be beneficial for your osteoporosis. But do not start one on your own. Certain kinds of exercise might be too risky for you, such as high impact aerobics or bending from the waist. Talk with your doctor about the safest, most effective exercise you can do.

 

 Get enough calcium and vitamin D

Calcium is an important part of your treatment plan if you have osteoporosis. Some people believe there is no point in trying to get enough calcium if they already have this condition, but remember, treatment for osteoporosis is aimed at preventing further bone loss. So be sure to include calcium in your diet:

  • People age 31 to 50 should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily
  • People aged 51 and older should get 1,200 milligrams daily

Sources of calcium include

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Fortified orange juice, breakfast cereals and breakfast bars
  • Salmon with bones (canned salmon is a good source)
  • Supplements

Since you need vitamin D to help your bones absorb calcium, be sure to get 800 I.U.s of this vitamin every day.

Sources of vitamin D include

  • Vitamin D-fortified dairy products
  • Egg yolks
  • Saltwater fish
  • Liver
  • Supplements

Take medications, if appropriate

There are several drugs that doctors prescribe for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. These drugs are called anti-resorptive medications. Resorption occurs when cells on the surface of bone dissolve bone tissue and create small cavities. Another process, called formation, counteracts resorption, as cells fill the cavities that resorption has caused. When this cycle is out of balance, there isn’t enough new bone formation. The bone cavities remain and continue to grow, so bones become more fragile and are more likely to break. The anti-resorptive medications include:

  • Bisphosphonates (commercial names are Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel)
  • Calcitonin (commercial names are Miacalcin, Calcimar, Fortical)
  • Estrogens (the Food and Drug Administration recommends consideration of other osteoporosis medications first, because the Women’s Health Study indicated that the use of estrogen may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer)
  • Raloxifene (commercial name is Evista)

Some of the mediations can reduce the risk of spine fractures, while others reduce the risk of spine, wrist and hip fractures. Some are taken in pill form, others by injection.

Additionally, there is a type of medication called “parathyroid hormone,” which is approved for men and post-menopausal women who are at high risk of fractures. The brand name is Fortéo. This drug stimulates bone formation and increases bone mineral density.

In most cases, you yourself can not tell whether your bones are getting stronger or weaker, so it is important to stick with your treatment plan. If you have side effects from these medications, talk with your doctor. It is highly possible that you’ll be able to switch to another drug.

 

Stay informed

Read as much as you can about osteoporosis so that you know when there’s new information about the condition. Besides, the more you know, the more in-depth and detailed you can be when you ask your doctor questions.

 

If osteoporosis has you worrying about falling and breaking a bone, be sure to read “Staying Put for Fear of Falling: Don’t Get Caught in the Cycle.”

Source:
The National Osteoporosis Foundation; The National Center on Aging



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