Specialized and comprehensive fracture care for older adults.

Bone Health

What is Osteoporosis?

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  • Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes bones to be more likely to break.
  • 1 in 2 women and 1 in every 4 men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their lifetime.
  • Broken bones are painful injuries that can limit mobility and quality of life.
  • You can lower your risk of broken bones with treatment options including nutrition, weight-bearing exercise and medications to strengthen bones.

Bone Health Evaluations

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Bone health evaluations should include:

  • Health history: Includes any history of broken bones and other risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • Physical examination: Identifies symptoms related to osteoporosis, evidence of prior broken bones and risks for falls.
  • Laboratory tests: Provides more information about the current state of your bone health.
  • Bone Density Test (DEXA): Offers a glimpse into the present state of your bone health and structure through painless X-rays of your spine, hip and/or wrist.

Osteoporosis Medications

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If you have osteoporosis...

If you have osteoporosis or a high risk of broken bones, a medication may be recommended for you. All FDA-approved osteoporosis medications are clinically proven to strengthen your bones and reduce your fracture risk. In addition to a medication, you should limit tobacco and alcohol, consume the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, and engage in weight-bearing exercise.

Fosamax® (Alendronate) and Reclast® (Zoledronic Acid)

Biphosphonates are a group of medications that slow bone breakdown and protect bones against fractures. They are available in two forms - a pill taken once-weekly and, less commonly, an intravenous (IV) infusion once-yearly. Research has shown that bisphosphonates can decrease your risk of braking bones by 30-50%. It is important to take the medication exactly as directed to make sure it is properly absorbed and to avoid stomach irritation. Be sure to tell your provider if you develop abnormal muscle, thigh, or jaw pain as these can be a sign of a rare side effect. These medications should be avoided by those with severe kidney disease.

Prolia® (Denosumab)

Prolia protects against fractures by blocking a protein needed for bone breakdown. In addition, Prolia has been shown to slightly increase the formation of new bone. Prolia is given as a shot under the skin of your arm abdomen, or thigh every six months. Research has shown that Prolia can decrease your risk of breaking bones by 40-70%. Be sure to tell your provider if you develop abdominal muscle, thigh, or jaw pain as these could be a sign of a rare side effect.

Forteo® (Teriparatide) and Tymlos® (Abaloparatide)

Forteo and Tymlos mimic substances naturally produced by your body called "parathyroid hormone" and "parathyroid hormone-related protein." Both of these substances tell your body to build new bone. Forteo and Tymlos come in preloaded injection pens and are given as a once-daily self-administrated injection for 18 to 24 months. After that time, you will need to switch to another osteoporosis medication to preserve your bone gains. Research has shown that both Forteo and Tymlos can decrease your risk of breaking bones by 70-80%. While uncommon, these medications may cause dizziness, headaches, and gout. You should let your provider know if you have a history of osteosarcoma or Paget's disease prior to starting these medications.

Evenity® (Romosozumab)

Evenity has a dual mechanism - it helps your body build new bone while also decreasing the rate that your bones break down. Evenity is given as a shot under the skin of your arm, abdomen, or thigh one-monthly for a total of 12 months. After that time, you will need to switch to another osteoporosis medication to preserve your bone gains. Research has shown that Evenity can decrease your risk of breaking bones by 70-80%. While rare, this medication may cause joint pain and headaches. You should tell your provider if you have a history of heart attack or stroke prior to starting this medication.