Ultrasound is sometimes offered at events such as health fairs as a quick screening for osteoporosis. Ultrasound by itself isn't a reliable test for diagnosing osteoporosis. But if results of an ultrasound screening find low bone density, your doctor can help you decide whether you should have a bone mineral density test.
How is it treated?
Treatment for osteoporosis may include adopting healthy habits and taking medicine to reduce bone loss and to build bone thickness. Medicine can also give you relief from pain caused by fractures or other changes to your bones.
Medicines used to prevent or treat osteoporosis include:
- Bisphosphonates, such as alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), and zoledronic acid (Reclast). These medicines slow the rate of bone thinning and can lead to increased bone density.
- Parathyroid hormone (teriparatide [Forteo]). This medicine is used for the treatment of men with severe osteoporosis who are at high risk for bone fracture. It is given by injection.
If you have low testosterone levels, your doctor may give you hormone therapy (shots, gels, or patches) to prevent osteoporosis. But hormone therapy to treat osteoporosis has not been approved by the FDA. If testosterone therapy is recommended, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
How can you stay healthy when you have osteoporosis?
You can slow osteoporosis with new, healthy habits.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Limit your use of alcohol.
- Get plenty of weight-bearing exercise. Walking, jogging, and lifting weights can make your bones stronger.
- It's important to get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. You need calcium and vitamin D to build strong, healthy bones. Try dark green vegetables, yogurt, and milk (for calcium). Eat eggs, fatty fish, and fortified cereal (for vitamin D). Your doctor might also tell you to get more calcium and vitamin D by taking supplements.
- When you have osteoporosis, it's important to take steps to prevent falls. You can start by making your home safer.
- Make sure there's enough light in your home.
- Remove throw rugs and clutter that you may trip over.
- Put sturdy handrails on stairs.
Making even small changes in how you eat and exercise, along with taking medicine, can help prevent a broken bone.