By Dr. B Sarkar, Orthopaedics
Osteoporosis is a condition which usually results due to a decrease in bone density. In this condition, the bones become weak and brittle. Fractures are a common result of osteoporosis. Usually, symptoms or signs do not show up until the condition progresses to its advanced stages.
Since osteoporosis is usually irreversible and incurable, preventing the fractures is considered to be extremely important.
Ways to Treat Osteoporosis-
- The cornerstone of treatment and prevention of osteoporosis is following a diet which has high levels of calcium.
- Additionally, in order to aid the absorption of calcium, supplements of vitamin D should be consumed.
- Following a regular routine of exercise which includes components weight-bearing exercises such as aerobics and walking, can strengthen the bones and help in reducing the possibility of fractures.
Osteoporosis in women can be treated using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). The therapy makes use of either a combination of progestin and oestrogen or simply, oestrogen. However, it is possible that certain combinations have side-effects that might give rise to other medical conditions. Therefore, proper consultation with an orthopedist is an essential pre-requisite so that the condition of osteoporosis as well the side effects may be addressed before proceeding with Hormone Replacement Therapy.
There are a number of medications that can be used which have long-term effects on osteoporosis. However, the schedule for intake of these medicines should be followed diligently. Failing to adhere to the schedule could lead to serious complications. For example, the intake of Risedronate medications (prevent bone loss) should be scheduled once every month, failing which can cause ulcers in the food pipe. Raloxifene has effects which are similar to oestrogen but does not exhibit any serious side effects. Teriparatide can be used to treat osteoporosis in people who have a high risk of suffering from bone fractures.