Osteoporosis prevention and treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bone fragility resulting from osteoporosis places a significant percentage of elderly women and other patient groups at risk for bone fracture. Risk factors for osteoporosis include hypogonadal states (particularly menopause), smoking, low calcium intake, lack of weight- bearing exercise, family history and use of certain medications. Preventive strategies are based on achieving and maintaining optimal bone mass through diet, exercise, appropriate use of hormone replacement therapy and avoidance of adverse influences, particularly smoking and certain medications. Laboratory investigations are of limited use in the detection and assessment of osteoporosis, but new techniques may help physicians identify patients with accelerated bone metabolism. Currently, the most precise method of radiologically assessing osteoporosis is dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Many new agents for the treatment of osteoporosis are being examined. First- line therapies currently include alendronate and calcitonin. The choice of therapy must be individualized and combined with advice about nutrition and exercise, both to optimize bone density and to minimize the risk of trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-992
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican family physician
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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