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Osteoporosis Health Center

Asian-American Women and Osteoporosis

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How Can Osteoporosis Be Prevented?

Building strong bones, especially before the age of 20, can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis, and a healthy lifestyle can be critically important for keeping bones strong. To help prevent osteoporosis:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Exercise regularly, with an emphasis on weight-bearing activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, and lifting weights.
  • Don’t smoke and limit alcohol intake.

Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of osteoporosis or other risk factors that may put you at increased risk for the disease. Your doctor may suggest that you have your bone density measured through a safe and painless test that can determine your risk for fractures (broken bones), and measure your response to osteoporosis treatment. The most widely recognized bone mineral density test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA test. It is painless: a bit like having an x ray, but with much less exposure to radiation. It can measure bone density at your hip and spine.

What Treatments Are Available?

Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are treatments available to help stop further bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures:

  • Alendronate (Fosamax1), risedronate (Actonel), and ibandronate (Boniva) are bisphosphonates approved for preventing and treating postmenopausal osteoporosis. Alendronate is also approved for treating osteoporosis in men and for use by men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. In addition, risedronate is approved for preventing and treating glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in both women and men. Alendronate plus vitamin D (Fosamax Plus D) is available for treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and in men. Risedronate with calcium (Actonel with Calcium) is available for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
  • Calcitonin (Miacalcin) is another treatment used by women for osteoporosis.
  • Raloxifene (Evista), a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator, is approved for preventing and treating postmenopausal osteoporosis.
  • Teriparatide (Forteo) is an injectable form of human parathyroid hormone (PTH). It is approved for postmenopausal women and men with osteoporosis who are at high risk for having a fracture.
  • Estrogen therapy (also called hormone therapy when estrogen and another hormone, progestin, are combined) is approved for preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis. It should only be considered for women at significant risk of osteoporosis after nonestrogen medications have been carefully considered.

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