Calcium and vitamin D are essential parts of maintaining healthy bones. However, as with our overall health, having a well-balanced diet that incorporates a range of different food groups.
Meals should also include a wide variety of foods from the four main groups:
- fruit and vegetables;
- carbohydrates such as good quality bread, potatoes, pasta and cereals;
- milk and dairy products;
- protein such as meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds.
The balance is so important because no single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to function well.
If necessary calcium and Vitamin D supplements may be recommended.
Aiming for a healthy body weight along with regular weight bearing exercise, such as walking , Pilates and Yoga is important to help maintain the strength of our bones.
Specific exercise plans can be designed to suit women, who may have a particular medical need (see Ten Clinical website).
Specific osteoporosis medicines:
- Bisphosphonates – these are the most commonly used medicines, once a diagnosis of osteoporosis has been confirmed.
These medications work by slowing bone loss. This effect helps maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of broken bones (fractures).
As with all medicines, there may be some side effects – the most common being: stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea, gas, or nausea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist.
- Selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
SERMs are medicines that have a similar effect on bone as the hormone estrogen, ie They help to maintain bone density and reduce the risk of fracture, particularly of the spine.
The advantage of using a SERM instead of estrogen is that they do not have the associated negative effects, due to their more specific actions on the estrogen receptor. This may be beneficial top women, who may not be able to take estrogen.
Raloxifene is most widely used SERM for treating osteoporosis.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – as well as helping to manage the acute symptoms of the menopause, HRT has been proven to help reduce the loss of bone density. This is especially relevant to women going through a premature menopause, when they are at an age when they may still be producing bone. More about HRT in these previous articles: