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Clin Cornerstone. 2002;4(6):31-41.

Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

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Division of Geriatrics, University of Connecticut Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.


Osteoporosis develops in older adults when the normal processes of bone formation and resorption become uncoupled or unbalanced, resulting in bone loss. Fractures are the result of decreased bone mass and strength and, in the case of wrist and hip fractures, usually involve a fall. Osteoporosis prevention and treatment programs should then focus on strategies that minimize bone resorption and maximize bone formation as well as on strategies that reduce falls. Optimal treatment and prevention of osteoporosis require modification of risk factors, particularly smoking cessation, adequate physical activity, and attention to diet, in addition to pharmacologic intervention. A number of pharmacologic options are now available to health care providers. This article focuses on US Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for osteoporosis and emphasizes the importance of using these agents as part of a comprehensive program that includes nonpharmacologic measures, complete diagnostic evaluation, and adequate follow-up with bone mineral density measurement.

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