Dealing With Osteoporosis Medicines to Rescue
What is Osteoporosis?
“Osteoporosis” literally means “porous bones.” The bones become weaker, increasing the risk of fractures, especially in the hip, spinal vertebrae, and wrist. It happens when bone density decreases. It is more common in women after menopause, because of the sudden decrease in estrogen, the hormone that normally protects against osteoporosis.
How does it develop?
Bone tissue is constantly being renewed, and new bone replaces old, damaged bone. Thus, the body maintains bone density and the integrity of its crystals and structure. After the age of around 35 years, bone starts to become weaker. As we age, bone breaks down faster than it builds. If this happens excessively, it results in osteoporosis.
How to treat osteoporosis?
It is an age-related condition but with effective management through drugs and lifestyle changes. Osteoporosis treatment aims to:
- Slow down the development of osteoporosis
- Maintain healthy bone mineral density and bone mass
- Prevent fractures
- Reduce pain
- Maximize the person’s ability to continue with their daily life
The supplemental drugs used to cure this disease are:
- Calcium is essential for bones, and ensuring an adequate calcium intake is important. The dies should include dairies such as milk, cheese, and yogurt green leafy vegetables like broccoli, fish with soft bones, and fortified breakfast cereals. If a person’s dietary intake is not enough, supplements are an option.
- Vitamin D plays a key role, as it helps the body absorb calcium. Dietary sources include fortified foods, saltwater fish, and liver. However, most vitamin D does not come from food but from sun exposure, so moderate, regular exposure to sunlight is recommended.
- Lifestyle factors for preventing osteoporosis
· Quit smoking, as this reduces the growth of new bone and decrease estrogen levels in women
· Limiting alcohol intake, to encourage healthy bones and prevent falls
· Getting regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, as this promotes healthy bone and strengthens support from muscles
4. Drug therapy
Drugs that can help prevent and used for osteoporosis treatment include:
· Bisphosphonates: These are anti-resorptive drugs that slow bone loss and reduce fracture risk.
· Estrogen agonists or antagonists, also known as selective estrogen-receptor modulators, SERMS), for example, raloxifene (Evista): These can reduce the risk of spine fractures in women after menopause.
· Calcitonin (Calcimar, Miacalcin): This helps prevent spinal fracture in postmenopausal women, and it can help manage pain if a fracture occurs.
· Parathyroid hormone, for example, teriparatide (Forteo): This is approved for people with a high risk of fracture, as it stimulates bone formation.
· RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitors, such as denosumab (Xgeva): This is an immune therapy and a new type of osteoporosis treatment.
What are latest developments in osteoporosis therapy?
The treatment may include stem cell therapy. Research has shown that injecting stem cells can reverse osteoporosis and bone loss in a way that could, potentially, benefit humans too.
Scientists are investigating which genes are responsible for bone formation and loss, in the hope that this might offer new ways of preventing osteoporosis in future.