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If you watch TV at all, you saw one: a commercial showing healthy women taking bone enhancing drugs.

These ads might just be responsible for launching osteoporosis into our consciousness.

The word literally means porous bones and increases a person's chance of fractures. Most of us don't know that 90% of our bone mass is acquired by age 18 for women and by age 20 for men.

That means you have the greatest bone density of your life as a young adult. Not good since our bone mass decreases with age.

Osteoporosis is a threat to more than 50% of Americans who are 50 years or older - that's more than 40 million people.

You resemble that remark!

You do too! You know women actually lose up to twenty percent of bone density five years after the onset of menopause.

Among all the drugs available the most widely known and used are bisphosphates. They're anti-resorptive agents which means they keep the bone from breaking down.

Our bones naturally go through breakdown and buildup cycles. The problem is once we achieve our highest bone density as young adults, bone loss outpaces bone building.

Bisphosphates include the drugs Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast. Keep in mind these drugs are relatively new and recent reports reveal a small number of patients suffered degeneration in their jaws and some experienced leg fractures after taking them.

Another class of drugs are selective estrogen receptor modulators and Raloxifene and Evista are common drugs in this class. They work by providing the bone building activities of estrogen without affecting the female reproductive system. Another option is hormone replacement therapies which also work.

Before choosing any regimen, know your risk for fractures by having your bone mineral density tested. Then based on your risk, age and a discussion with your doctor, make a decision that works for you.

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For more information…

National Osteoporosis Foundation
Comprehensive listing of information and resources about osteoporosis covering treatment, legislative action, research development, medical specialists and fund raising.
For more information…

Medline Plus website that provides authoritative information about treatment, diagnosis, risk factors and basic information. Tutorials, pictures and clinical trial information is also provided.
For more information…

Osteoporosis Treatments
WebMD site that has a comprehensive presentation of osteoporosis treatment options including common drugs and dietary and exercise approaches to this disease.
For more information…


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