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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Osteoporosis: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Bone loss can be slowed by 30 minutes of moderate weight-bearing exercise a day. Weight-bearing exercise includes low impact aerobics, walking, running, lifting weights, tennis, and step aerobics. A person exercising at a moderate level can talk normally without shortness of breath and is comfortable with the pace of the activity. The 30 minutes a day can be done in one session or several smaller segments.

Low impact aerobics and water aerobics are examples of exercises that minimize joint stress in elderly individuals or people who have arthritis. Recent research has shown that people who do high impact activities such as jogging have less bone loss as they age.

Bone loss can be slowed by eating a well-balanced diet, following the food guide pyramid. It's important to get enough calcium and vitamin D. There is some evidence that a diet high in fat may cause bones to thin more rapidly. Eating 25 grams of soy protein a day can also lower a person's risk for osteoporosis.

Following are some other options for reducing bone loss:

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Get effective treatment for conditions such as hypogonadism, rheumatoid arthritis, and hyperthyroidism
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Selected medicines are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, for prevention of osteoporosis. These medicines that slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density, and help prevent bone fractures are as follows:

  • biphosphonates, specifically alendronate and risedronate
  • estrogen or hormone replacement therapy for women
  • selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs, specifically raloxifene
  • What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    Untreated osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures that may result in permanent disability. One in five women over the age of 70 and one in three women over the age of 80 will suffer a hip fracture during her lifetime. Nearly one in five women with a hip fracture will die within 6 months of the injury. Death following a hip fracture is usually the result of complications from immobility, such as pneumonia.

    One third of women older than 65 years of age will have a fracture of the spine caused by osteoporosis. Chronic back pain resulting from fractures of the spine may prevent some physical activities and affect normal sleeping.

    What are the risks to others?

    Osteoporosis is not contagious and poses no risk to others.

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    Osteoporosis: Diagnosis & Tests


    Osteoporosis: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 09/13/01

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