Diagnosis

Osteoporosis is diagnosed by measuring bone density with the help of a low intense X-rays machine that uses little amount of radiations. This will measure the levels of minerals in the bones. A scanner will pass over the patient’s body while they are lying on a table. This is a painless diagnostic test that usually checks particular bones, such as hip and spine. 

Treatment

Treatment advice is generally based on patient’s risk of having bone fractures in the next ten years. This can be determined by the result of bone density test. If the risk is at a low level, treatment may only include an adjustment to the risk factors and preventing bone loss and falls. Medications may not be necessary for this stage. Patients of all genders who are at great risk of breaking bones will be prescribed with medications such as

  • bisphosphonates and denosumab. These medications are designed to improve bone density level and decrease the possibilities of fractures. In addition to medications, exercises, vitamins and mineral supplements are recommended as well.
  • Hormone-related therapy such as estrogen can help sustain bone density. Although it has the risk of increasing breast cancer and causing blood clots, which can result in strokes. Hence, estrogen is recommended to use in younger women to strengthen their bone health. Patients who require treatment for their menopausal symptoms could also be provided with estrogen.
    Older male patients may experience osteoporosis due to lower testosterone level in their body. Therefore, testosterone replacement therapy could be prescribed to treat the disease.
  • Bone-building medications are also an alternative treatment.
    • Teriparatide is a medicine similar to parathyroid hormone that stimulates the growth of new bones. It is taken by injection for maximum 2 years
    • Abaloparatide is a drug similar to parathyroid hormone can only be taken for two years.
    • Romosozumab is the latest bone-building medication that treats The medicine is given via injection every month by the doctor. It can be taken for one year only

These medications will be recommended when severe osteoporosis is not responding adequately to the common treatment options. After finishing the course of bone-building medications, patients are often required to take other drug for osteoporosis, so the growth of new bones is properly maintained.