Their role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
For individuals with osteoporosis, there is now a variety of drug treatments available. The primary aim of drug treatments is to reduce fractures.
How our bones work
Bone is a living tissue that is constantly renewed through a process in which old bone is removed and replaced by new bone. Cells called osteoclasts erode the bone, creating small cavities; bone-forming cells called osteoblasts then fill in the cavities with new bone. This is nature’s way of restoring bones and keeping them healthy.
In younger people with healthy bones, the osteoclasts and osteoblasts work together, maintaining healthy bones. However, after our mid-30s the process is not as efficient, and we begin to gradually lose bone. In someone with osteoporosis, bone loss occurs more rapidly, causing the bones to become thinner and weaker over time. If you have osteoporosis, you have already lost a significant amount of bone and may continue to do so unless you receive medication.
Finding the medication that’s right for you
You and your physician need to review the drug treatment options, assessing the risks and benefits each offers and choosing the best treatment for you, based on current scientific evidence. You may also need to explore several treatment options, because each person is different. Some people respond better to one drug than another. Some people have side effects on one and not another. (Any side effects should be reported to your doctor immediately.)
Cost may also be a factor. Provincial drug plans may cover certain drugs only for certain patients. Remember, treatment plans can be changed. The important thing is to find a drug treatment that works for you.
Calcium and vitamin D
No matter what drug therapy you choose, remember that a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is required to maintain healthy bones.