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
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:
Get effective treatment for conditions such as hypogonadism, rheumatoid arthritis, and hyperthyroidism
Selected medicines are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration,
or FDA, for prevention of osteoporosis. These medicines that slow or stop bone
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
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Untreated osteoporosis can lead to
fractures that may result in permanent disability. One in five
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
following a hip fracture is usually the result of complications from
One third of women older than 65 years of age will have
of the spine caused by osteoporosis. Chronic back pain resulting from fractures
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.