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New guidelines for treating osteoporosis in menopausal women

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At the beginning of this year, The American College of Physicians (ACP) updated its guidelines for therapy to reduce the risk of fractures in adults with primary osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mass). It was the first update since 2017.

Among other recommendations, the new guidelines strongly recommend initial therapy for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis with bisphosphonates. It also suggests this for men with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is most common in postmenopausal women, due to the decrease in estrogen levels that occurs during menopause. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and brittle, making them more prone to fractures and breaks. 

Menopause is the natural process that occurs when a woman’s menstrual cycles stop, and she is no longer fertile. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, and is marked by several physical and emotional changes. These changes are caused by the decline in estrogen and other hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.

One treatment option for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis is the use of bisphosphonates. These medications work by slowing the breakdown of bone tissue, helping to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures. Bisphosphonates are available in both oral and intravenous forms. They may be taken as a single dose or in multiple doses over a period of time.

More about bisphosphonates

Bisphosphonates are medications used to treat osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle. They work by inhibiting the activity of cells called osteoclasts, which are responsible for breaking down bone tissue. By slowing down the breakdown of bone tissue, bisphosphonates help to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.

Bisphosphonates are also sometimes used to treat other conditions that affect the bones. One of them is Paget’s disease, which causes the bones to become misshapen and weak. They may also be used to treat cancer that has spread to the bones, to reduce the risk of fractures and improve quality of life.

In addition to their effects on bone tissue, bisphosphonates may also have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects. Some studies have suggested that they may have potential as a treatment for autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

What are the possible side effects of bisphosphonates?

While bisphosphonates can effectively treat osteoporosis and prevent fractures, they are not without risks. Side effects may include gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea and stomach pain, as well as muscle, joint, and bone pain. Bisphosphonates may also increase the risk of developing a rare but serious condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw, which causes the bone in the jaw to die.

Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis need to discuss all treatment options with their healthcare provider, including the potential risks and benefits of bisphosphonates. In addition to medication, weight-bearing exercise and a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Together, they can also help to improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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