Treatment and prevention of osteoporosis

picture of building blocks

Osteoporosis is more common than it should be. Although we don't know how to completely stop bone loss, we can take steps to prevent many of the fractures. Shown here are the basic building blocks for stronger bones. Prevention starts in childhood, with good nutrition and exercise. Fall prevention is especially important in elderly persons.

We usually think prevention applies to patients who have not yet had a fracture, and treatment in those who have already fractured. But a better point of view is that preventive measures should come first, because we are always trying to prevent a future fracture. Medical treatments are added when appropriate, depending on the fracture risks and the clinical situation.

Sometimes doctors and their patients just want to take a medication for osteoporosis, without paying attention to these basic building blocks. The medications will not be as effective if there is inadequate calcium, exercise, or nutrition. On the other hand, some patients don't want to take any medicines even when they would be really beneficial. These pages will show the data that help us decide when medicines should be used. All medicines have some side effects that must be balanced against the risks of getting a fracture and the ability of the particular medicine to reduce that fracture risk.


Updated 2/21/2019