People who are suffering from osteoporosis need to be aware and do the proper research about various options and available healthy and effective alternatives in order to find the treatment for osteoporosis that works for them. Osteoporosis treatment guidelines recommend people to take calcium as well as vitamin D regularly when the condition is already serious and severe.
Almost all medical and health professionals are suggesting high level of vitamin D and calcium despite of the fact that they are already using osteoporosis medications. They are also advised to take other nutrients and minerals that can increase their muscle and bone strength.
Alternative Treatment for Osteoporosis
There are many alternative treatments that you could try to either minimize the symptoms or try to combat more severe signs of osteoporosis. Some of these alternative treatments for osteoporosis include ayurvedic treatment for osteoporosis, hormone therapy, homeopathic treatment for osteoporosis, X-rays, physical therapy, holistic treatment for osteoporosis and many others.
Depending on your background, stage of the illness and if you are open to trying other treatment options there are really many variations to choose from.
However, as with any other serious illness, it is always easier to take steps in order to prevent the onset instead of treating the symptoms after you have been diagnosed.
Since osteoporosis is extremely hard to reverse, prevention still remains the best treatment for osteoporosis. The major impediment towards prevention is limited knowledge and ability to do it. The best obvious way to keep fit and maintain it is through exercises and a change in lifestyle.
Regular exercises enhance the strength of the bones and keep you healthy and well. As well, the risks of heart disease is significantly lowered. Ceasing smoking is the next best way, and change of lifestyle.
Additionally, reduce the level of alcohol intake to reasonable limits, and you will keep away the orthopedic wards. For diet, make sure your meals are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. The medical professionals recommend a daily 800mg intake of calcium.
Natural Treatments for Osteoporosis
The next best alternative treatment for osteoporosis is to go natural. The natural treatments are usually sought after by those adults who want to keep off side effects of medication. The most common natural treatment method is through use of foods and foods supplements instead of using the chemically produced drugs. All medical studies have shown strong positive correlation between skeletal health and intake of foods and vegetables.
The other important way to deal with the illness is reduction of alcohol and caffeine intake. It is filed under the group of alternative treatments, but it is really just common sense. Make sure to stop drinking cola drinks as the phosphorous contents adversely affect tissue mineral density especially in women, this being one of the most important osteoporosis treatments.
Soy isoflavones are very good too. They contain few components and amino acids that are good for the bone health. The ultimate way is to take your daily recommended intakes of calcium and vitamin D. Bask in the sun, especially in the twilight and consume milk products regularly because they are rich in nutrients.
Some other alternative treatment options are hormone and simple physical therapies.
The hormone therapy, as a way of osteoporosis treatment, involves working on the estrogen receptor modulators. The hormone replacement therapy of estrogen, especially after menopause helps maintain and boost the skeletal tissue density. Caution should however be taken as regular use of this treatment can cause blood clots, breast cancer and in some cases heart disease.
The physical therapy on the other hand, is the simply doing the recommended exercises and procedures created to build and boost your bone strength, enhance your posture and generally increase muscle strength and body balance.
The alternative form of treatment is the use of medications. These drugs are available to slow down loss of tissue in bones or at least maintain it at safe levels. The first group falls under the name of biphosphonates. They work in similar manner to estrogen – reducing breakdown, preserving mass and reducing the chances of fractures low. They are specifically designed for men, who are the main victims of steroid-induced osteoporosis. However, they do have known adverse side effects.
The other prescription medication is Raloxifene. This type of treatment medication is a kind of the selective receptor estrogen modulators (SERMs). This is specifically made for women; however, those with a history of blood clots are advised stay away from it.
The last of the medications is called Calcitonin. This is equivalent of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland, and works similarly as estrogen. It's administered through injection or nasal spray application, and normally reserved for those who cannot take other drugs as prescribed treatment.
The Conventional Treatment
To expand on the conventional types of treatments, or prescription medications here is a quick breakdown, prepared by Dr. Weil, of available medications and some background on each. As with any medication, you'll need to double-check with your medical professional if any of these would be a good match for your particular scenario.
Doctors usually recommend the conventional prescription drugs Actonel, Fosomax and Evista for osteoporosis treatment. They have different benefits and risks, however. Evista (raloxifene) might be suitable for some women while Actonel (risedronate sodium) or Fosamax (alendronate sodium) would be better for others. The choice has to be made on the basis of a woman's individual health profile and in consultation with her physician.
Both Actonel and Fosamax seem to do a pretty good job of slowing menopausal bone loss. Fosamax's effects can be seen as soon as three months after treatment begins and continue as long as you are on the drug. Unfortunately, this drug can cause severe digestive reactions including irritation, inflammation, and ulceration of the esophagus, all of which may cause chest pain, heartburn or pain with swallowing.
Actonel is newer than Fosamax and works in much the same way. Research shows that it reduces the risk of new vertebral fractures by 65 percent within one year of treatment. I have tended to recommend it over Fosamax because patients tell me that the side effects are milder. After treatments, the most common include stomach upset, diarrhea, headache and joint pain that may disappear as the body adjusts to the medication.
Evista (raloxifene) is an entirely different type of drug, a selective estrogen receptor modifier (SERM). These agents seem to provide the benefits of estrogen replacement without increasing breast cancer risk. In fact, Evista appears to reduce breast cancer risk as well as protect against osteoporosis. Side effects include hot flashes and vaginal discharge, dryness, or itching.
We will know more about the benefits and risks of Evista when the National Cancer Institute completes a five year study comparing it to Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer patients and recently shown to reduce the incidence of breast cancer among high risk women. Treatments with tamoxifen also protect against osteoporosis.
Fortunately, if you develop side effects to one of the available drugs, you can switch to another. Another drug receiving attention is strontium ranelate, a combination of the mineral strontium with ranelic acid. It has been licensed for sale in the UK and elsewhere in Europe for treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
A number of studies have shown that it can strengthen bone and reduce the risk of fractures, even among women 74 years of age or older when risks are highest. Strontium ranelate is not yet approved by the FDA for treatment or prevention of osteoporosis in the United States. It remains under study.
A final concern is that many women can't tolerate the side effects of treatments including the popular drugs Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva, which are all varieties of bisphosphonates. Irritation of the stomach and esophagus is the most common reported problem, but some oral surgeons and dentists have begun to report a more serious concern in a sub-group of their patients: jaw necrosis, the death of the jawbone. This warrants further study.
What therapies are recommended for treatment or prevention?
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and beta carotene (found in fruits and vegetables) have been associated with higher total bone mass. A diet rich in vegetables and fruit and moderate in animal protein and grains may minimize the acid-ash residue of the diet.
- Get enough calcium. This mineral is one of the primary constituents of bone, and adequate intakes are necessary for lifelong bone health. Choose high quality, organic dairy products such as yogurt and milk. Eat more sardines (with bones), dark green vegetables like collard greens, bok choy and broccoli, whole soy based products like tofu, and calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice. As an alternative, consider taking a calcium supplement if you are not eating at least three servings of dairy per day and/or calcium-fortified foods, if you are postmenopausal or if you have a family history of osteoporosis.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods every day, including spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli and lentils. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also good as an alternative for sources of magnesium.
- Eat vitamin K-rich foods every day. The best sources are green leafy vegetables (see the calcium-rich greens listed above), but most vegetables are good sources. Talk with your doctor about the effects of vitamin K if you are taking a blood-thinning medication.
- Make sure you get enough vitamin D. I recommend supplementing with 2,000 IU daily for adults.
- Decrease your sodium intake. Avoid salty processed foods and fast food. Don't salt your food before tasting it.
- Limit caffeine intake. Use herbal teas as alternative or substitute.
- Avoid alcohol or drink only in moderation.
- Increase weight-bearing activities, such as walking, weight training and calisthenics. Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
As you can see, if either you or your loved one ended up being diagnosed with this illness, you will need to take a little time and effort to research and discover the best and the most effective treatment, being conventional or alternative. And this knowledge will help you to understand how your body reacts to these changes and allow you to manage them more efficiently.