IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START PROTECTING YOUR BONES FROM OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is a disease that makes your bones weak and more likely to break during day-to-day activities.  If you have osteoporosis, improving your diet, increasing your physical activity, and taking vitamins are all important for your overall health.

But if you have already suffered a fracture, these changes are likely not enough.  If you don’t treat your osteoporosis after a fracture, your bones will continue to weaken, putting you at even greater risk of another potentially debilitating fracture.  Women who experience a fracture are up to five times more likely to suffer another fracture within a year.1

HOW DO YOU TREAT OSTEOPOROSIS?

YOU CAN TREAT OSTEOPOROSIS WITH A COMBINATION OF PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES.

Osteoporosis medications help to strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of future fractures. Treatments can reduce the risk of hip fractures by up to 40%, vertebral fractures by 30–70% and non-vertebral fractures by 15–20%.2

  • You and your doctor will determine the best treatment for you, taking into consideration other medical conditions.
  • Osteoporosis medications are available as tablets, injections or infusions.
  • Depending on the medication, they can be taken every day, once a month or even as little as one to two times a year.
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements also work alongside your osteoporosis medicine.  Your doctor will recommend these if you need them.

Other simple steps to support your bone health include a healthy diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and regular weight bearing exercise.

HOW DO OSTEOPOROSIS MEDICINES WORK?

Bone is a living, growing tissue and is always being ‘turned over’. This means that new bone is formed while older bone is broken down by the body. But if you have osteoporosis, bone rebuilding cannot work at the same speed, and more bone is lost than is made. This makes your bones deteriorate, become weaker and more likely to break.

Osteoporosis medicines work by making osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone) less active, while allowing osteoblasts (the cells that form new bone) to be more active.  Some osteoporosis medicines primarily work by slowing down the rate at which your bones break down. Others work by speeding up the bone building process.  Both types of medicines strengthen bone and reduce your risk of fractures.2

Talk to your doctor to find out which type of treatment is best for you.

Calendar

HOW TO TAKE OSTEOPOROSIS MEDICINES2

It is important to take your prescription osteoporosis medication as directed by your doctor.

  • If you take your osteoporosis medicine daily, then take it at the same time each day.
  • If you take your osteoporosis medicine monthly, six monthly or yearly, set a reminder in your calendar to help you to remember when you need your medicine next.
  • Using the right medicine in the appropriate way is crucial to maintain strong bones.

Side effects from osteoporosis medicines are rare. 

  • Your medication will come with a leaflet listing what to look out for.
  • If you experience any side effect, you need to inform your doctor.
Years

HOW LONG WILL I NEED TO TAKE IT?2

Osteoporosis treatments can only work if they are taken correctly.

  • Osteoporosis is a long-term condition, and your medication may need to be taken for many years.
  • By staying on your treatment, you can benefit from ongoing gains in bone mineral density, lose less bone mass and continue to reduce your fracture risk.
  • Your doctor can assess your response to the medication with a DEXA scan every 1–2 years.

Remember, it is important to keep taking your medication. If you have any concerns, don’t stop your osteoporosis medication without talking to your doctor.

Stopping your medication may increase your chances of further fractures which can impact your lifestyle and independence.

ALONGSIDE MEDICATION, WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO HELP MYSELF?

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Read these articles to find out more about managing osteoporosis.

References

1 Healthy Bones Australia. Diagnosis. healthybonesaustralia.org.au/osteoporosis-you.

2 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis.Risk.Check. riskcheck.osteoporosis.foundation.