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Osteoporosis Health Center

Black Women and Osteoporosis

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How Can Osteoporosis Be Prevented?

Osteoporosis prevention begins in childhood. The recommendations listed below should be followed throughout life to lower your risk of osteoporosis.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet adequate in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Exercise regularly, with an emphasis on weight-bearing activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, and lifting weights.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking, and, if your drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

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:

  • bisphosphonate drugs: alendronate (Fosamax1), alendronate plus vitamin D (Fosamax Plus D), risedronate (Actonel), risedronate with calcium (Actonel with Calcium), and ibandronate (Boniva)
  • calcitonin (Miacalcin)
  • raloxifene (Evista), a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator
  • teriparatide (Forteo), a form of the hormone known as PTH, which is secreted by the parathyroid glands
  • estrogen therapy (also called hormone therapy when estrogen and another hormone, progestin, are combined).

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

Reviewed on May 01, 2006
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