University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas City, KS
Osteoporosis doesn't cause pain or other symptoms, until you break a bone. The most common bones to break if you have osteoporosis are those in the spine, hip and wrist. Some fractures, especially those of the hip, are treated with surgery. The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to reduce the risk of fractures. A comprehensive osteoporosis treatment program focuses on nutrition, exercise and safety precautions to prevent falls that may result in fractures. If you have osteoporosis or are at risk for it, your health care professional will likely measure your bone mineral density using a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. He or she may then recommend several treatment and preventive measures, including:
- adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, either from diet or supplementation
- regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking or tennis
- avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption ("Moderate drinking" for women and older people is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as one drink per day—one drink equals: 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Moderate drinking is considered safe.)
- medications to stop or slow bone loss, improve bone mineral density and reduce fracture risk.