It is important that osteoporosis be diagnosed as early as possible and not only when a radius or hip fracture occurs with a fall or a compression fracture of a vertebral body. A physical exercise program involving swimming, walking and stretching exercises is combined with a good nutritional program. The affected person must ensure that enough calcium is taken in by consuming milk products and taking calcium supplements. Vit. D supplements help to absorb more of the dietary calcium.
Calcitonin or a calcitonin analogue hormone by nasal spray can be given to build up stronger new bone. Sodium fluoride has been recommended in the past in an attempt to build up bone mass, but the bone that is built up with fluoride seems to be more brittle resulting in fractures again. Calcitonin hormone induces new bone growth that is identical to regular healthy bone and is preferred for this reason. Calcitonin is the hormone that stimulates bone cells called osteoblasts. These cells are the ones that have built bone when you grew up. It only makes sense that we would use the same mechanism to built up bone by using calcitonin when bone loss has occurred. In women who enter into the menopause estrogen replacement (in combination with progesterone) can be used to preserve bone mass. However, there is still a slightly higher than normal risk for the development of breast cancer (1.6 to 1.8-fold). In men testosterone levels need to be determined and if they are low, replacement with testosterone can be considered by the physician.
More information regarding osteoporosis:
1. ABC of rheumatology, second edition, edited by Michael L. Snaith , M.D., BMJ Books, 1999.
2. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 52.
3. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 275,p.2429.
4. HA King Orthop Clin North Am 1988 Apr;19(2):247-255.
5. HA King Orthop Clin North Am 1999 Jul;30(3):467-474, ix.
6. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 59.
7. JA Smith Orthop Clin North Am Jul 1999; 30(3): 487-499.
8. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 56, p. 469.
9. Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics: http://www.wheelessonline.com/ortho/arthritis
10. Goldman: Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 21st ed.(©2000)W.B.Saunders
11. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.
12. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier