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Osteoporosis Health Center

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Sally Field: An Osteoporosis Story

The actress known for playing strong women tells of her battle against a bone-thinning disease.

Treatment Options

While Boniva is the newest treatment for bone health, Goldstein says a variety of medications work equally well. These include Fosamax and Actonel, medications similar to Boniva, as well as Evista, a treatment that works like estrogen but does not affect the uterus or breast.

In addition, Goldstein says that a form of parathyroid hormone called Forteo that is given by injection and actually builds bone can also be helpful for some patients.

If pills are not your forte another option is Miacalcin, a nasal spray containing the ingredient calcitonin, which is also recommended as a treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosisosteoporosis.

"The point is that every woman is different, so talk to your doctor about which medications suit your life and your lifestyle, and which will work best to protect your bones," says Goldstein.

NOF also recommends a minimum of 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily from ages 19 through 50, increasing to 1,200 milligrams daily after age 50. This can be in the form of calcium supplements, or via natural sources such as low-fat dairy products including fortified skim milk, yogurt, and even ice cream.

To aid in calcium absorption NOF also suggests 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D daily. You can also try 15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week to help the body manufacture its own vitamin D.

And because experts say bone responds to stressstress by building more bone, NOF reminds us that exercise is also key to keeping bones strong. They recommend weight-bearing workouts such as walking, dancing or stair climbing, and resistance training, several times a week.

Reviewed on April 21, 2006

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