Osteoporosis affects about 10 million Americans. 44 million Americans have low bone density, putting them at risk for developing osteoporosis. What is the best osteoporosis treatment?
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak. Often called the “silent disease,” many people do not know they have it until they break a bone. Millions of Americans either have or are at risk of developing this bone disease and fracturing their bones. Osteoporosis fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist, and spine.
What Are the Treatments of Osteoporosis?
If you are aware you have osteoporosis, it’s important to ensure you have the best osteoporosis treatment possible. Thankfully, there are many options! Eating a healthy diet can help to prevent further bone density loss. Opt for foods that are high in vitamin D and calcium rich foods, such as tofu and orange juice. Lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol consumption, exercising, and quitting smoking can also make a huge difference in your disease.
What Are the Common Medications For Osteoporosis?
Treatment of osteoporosis often includes medication. Typically when treating osteoporosis, the first step taken is to start a bisphosphonate. This may include Alendronate (a weekly pill), Risedronate (a weekly or monthly pill), Ibandronate (a monthly pill or a quarterly IV infusion), or Zoledronic acid (an annual IV infusion). Another common medication used is denosumab.
Denosumab is a good option for patients who cannot take a bisphosphonate, such as people with reduced kidney function. Denosumab is delivered through injections under the skin every six months. You may have to use this indefinitely unless you are able to transition to another medication. Recent research has indicated a higher risk of spinal fractures after stopping the drug, so it is imperative that you take the medication regularly.
What Are the Side Effects of Bisphosphonate Pills?
The most common side effects reported about bisphosphonate pills are nausea and heartburn. It’s fairly easy to combat this. Don’t lay down or bend over for about an hour after meals so your medication won’t build up in your esophagus. Thankfully, most of the people who follow this advice don’t experience any side effects!
Do IV Bisphosphonates Have Advantages Over the Pill?
IV forms of bisphosphonate pills do not cause stomach upset, and it may be easier for patients to fit it into their schedules. IV bisphosphonates can cause flu-like symptoms, but this typically stops after the first transfusion. Taking acetaminophen can lessen these side effects when taken before and after the infusion.
Can Osteoporosis Treatments Hurt My Bones?
While rare, osteoporosis treatments can cause a break or fracture in the patient’s thigh bone. The very rare condition, known as an atypical femoral fracture, can cause pain in the groin area that gradually worsens. Another rare condition osteoporosis treatments can cause is osteonecrosis of the jaw, in which a patient’s jaw fails to heal properly after an injury such as a tooth pulling. This is more commonly seen in patients who have cancer of the bone because they typically need higher doses of bisphosphonates and denosumab.
When Should I See a Doctor?
Osteoporosis is a serious disease, but catching the symptoms can stop needless struggles. If you are concerned that you are showing symptoms of osteoporosis or are concerned that your osteoporosis treatment is not up to snuff, it may be time to see a doctor. At BASS Medical Group, your care is our top priority. Call (925) 350-4044 to schedule your appointment.