Osteoporosis management.Int J Fertil Womens Med 1999 Sep-Oct; 44(5):241-9IJ
About 40% of women who reach the age of 50 are expected to suffer from osteoporosis during their remaining life. The morbidity associated with hip, spinal and wrist fractures, resulting from osteoporosis, and the mortality resulting from hip fractures justify the development of prevention strategies. Optimal management of osteoporosis consists of maximizing peak bone mass in early adulthood and preventing the rapid bone loss that occurs soon after the menopause. Peak bone mass will be reached in most women if adequate nutrition is taken and exercise is encouraged, while major risk factors are avoided. At the menopause, prescription of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) constitutes the primary prevention strategy. There are, however, questions that remain unanswered or debated. What is the optimal dose of HRT, when should it be started, and for how long should it be maintained? In women who do not, or may not, take HRT, and who have osteoporosis, alternative therapeutic options include diphosphonates (e.g., alendronate) and Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (such as raloxifene). Other treatments to restore bone strength in women with established disease may also reduce the risk of fractures. Some of them, such as calcitonin, may not be cost effective. Others have produced conflicting data (fluoride) and others are still under evaluation (PTH or strontium). In sunlight-deprived, vitamin D-deficient elderly nursing home residents, dietary supplementation of calcium and vitamin D has been shown to prevent bone loss and fractures. Strategies to avoid falls should also be encouraged for these patients.