The goals of osteoporosis treatment are to:
- Control pain from the disease.
- Slow down or stop bone loss.
- Prevent bone fractures with medicines that strengthen bone.
- Minimize the risk of falls that might cause fractures.
Medications are used to strengthen bones when:
- Osteoporosis has been diagnosed by a bone density study.
- Osteopenia (thin bones, but not osteoporosis) has been diagnosed by a bone density study, if a bone fracture has occurred.
Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures in people with osteoporosis.
However, avoid any exercise that presents a risk of falling, or high-impact exercises that may cause fractures.
Some of the recommended exercises include:
- Weight-bearing exercises — walking, jogging, playing tennis, dancing.
- Resistance exercises — free weights, weight machines, stretch bands.
- Balance exercises — tai chi, yoga.
- Riding a stationary bicycle.
- Using rowing machines.
Get at least 1,200 milligrams per day of calcium and 800 – 1,000 international units of vitamin D3. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.
Your doctor may recommend a supplement to give you the calcium and vitamin D you need.
Follow a diet that provides the proper amount of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. While this will not completely stop bone loss, it will guarantee that a supply of the materials the body uses to form and maintain bones is available.
High-calcium foods include:
- Ice cream
- Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and collard greens
- Low-fat milk
- Sardines (with the bones)
It is critical to prevent falls.
Avoid sedating medications and remove household hazards to reduce the risk of fractures. Make sure your vision is good.
Other ways to prevent falling include:
- Avoiding walking alone on icy days
- Using bars in the bathtub, when needed
- Wearing well-fitting shoes