Osteoporosis Treatments and Services

At MedStar Georgetown, we are pioneering advances in osteoporosis care. We don’t just treat broken bones, we prevent fractures from recurring with our Fracture Liaison Service (FLS).

The goal of the FLS is to promote bone health, reduce fracture risks, accelerate healing and prevent re-fractures.

MedStar Georgetown’s Fracture Liaison Service:

  • Identifies, evaluates and treats people with fragility fractures
  • Performs fracture risk assessments
  • Coordinates follow-up care with various specialties and physicians
  • Provides patient education about secondary fracture prevention

FLS ensures that every patient age 50 and above who comes to our hospital with a fracture undergoes osteoporosis assessment.

Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are steps you can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress. In some cases, you may even be able to improve bone density to some degree.

If you are living with osteoporosis, we treat you with medications and advocate lifestyle changes as appropriate to help you manage this disease and enjoy an active lifestyle. 

Lifestyle Changes

Many people live well with osteoporosis and avoid breaking bones. But if you have had one or more fractures, it’s important to learn about the steps you can take to maintain a good quality of life.

Stay active. Bones become stronger and denser when you place demands on them.

Exercise benefits your bones, muscle strength and overall health. Physical activity also improves balance, which helps prevent falls. While people with osteoporosis need to modify exercises and movements to prevent fractures, there are many exercises that can be done safely.

Eat well. Having enough calcium and vitamin D as part of a healthy balanced diet is important for maintaining healthy bones. Dietary sources of calcium are preferred, but calcium supplements may benefit older men and women if dietary intake is inadequate and help reduce their risk of fractures. Include calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese in your diet. Sources of vitamin D are sunlight, supplements and some dairy products; most people need to take vitamin D supplements to reach the recommended daily intake levels.

Manage anxiety. When you first learn that you have osteoporosis, you may be overwhelmed. You may restrict your normal activities because you are afraid of breaking a bone. Try to manage your fears and seek help with these issues.

Be social. Osteoporosis can affect your relationships with family members, co-workers and friends. As you cope with the limitations of osteoporosis, you may be afraid to be around them for fear of causing fractures. Managing social concerns and limitation is easier when you look for support from your family and friends.

Other lifestyle changes that can help prevent osteoporosis include:

  • Limit alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking is associated with brittle bones.
  • Limit caffeine consumption. Caffeine may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Quit smoking. The risk for osteoporosis is reduced after quitting smoking.

Medications

Medications are available to reduce the risk of broken bones. These medicines either slow or stop bone loss or they rebuild bone. You and your healthcare professional will work together to determine if medication is appropriate and to choose the right osteoporosis medicine for you.

Factors to consider include:

Gender. Some medications are only approved for women; others are approved for both men and women.

Age. Some medicines may be more appropriate for younger, postmenopausal women, while others are more appropriate for older women.

Severity of the disease. Osteoporosis medicines work in different ways. If you have severe bone loss or a broken bone, you may take a different medicine than someone with less bone loss. Other health problems you may have need to be considered when choosing a medicine.

Personal preferences. How well a medicine works can vary from person to person. Share your personal preferences about medicines with your health care provider, such as how often you want to take medication or in what form (pill, liquid, injection, etc.).

Potential side effects. All medicines have risks as well as benefits. Side effects can be relatively minor, such as a headache or a dry mouth, or they can be more serious.  Discuss the risks and benefits of medication with your health care provider and also the risks of not treating osteoporosis.