Osteoporosis Management Strategies
Strategies for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in people with osteogenesis imperfecta are generally the same as those for people who do not have OI.
Nutrition: For healthy bones, it is important to have a diet with levels of calcium and vitamin D that are appropriate for the person’s size. Good sources of calcium include reduced-fat dairy products and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. When a person has a significant calcium deficiency, supplements can help ensure that the daily calcium requirement is met, assuming that urine calcium levels are not elevated.
Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. It is made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D supplements may be needed if foods fortified with vitamin D are not part of the diet.
Exercise: Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing exercises that work against gravity are best for preventing bone loss. Some examples include walking, standing, and lifting. Swimming can also be a beneficial form of exercise. Because water activities do little to increase or maintain bone density, however, people with OI also should try to add walking or other weight-bearing exercise to their physical activity program, if possible.
Exercise can be challenging for people with OI, who must cope with muscle weakness, bone fragility and malformations, joint instability, and pain. However, regular exercise in moderation, such as walking, can help prevent bone loss and provide other health benefits. All adults, including those who spend most of their time in wheelchairs, need to consult with their doctor and a physical therapist about developing an appropriate exercise program.
Healthy lifestyle: Smoking has a negative effect on all body systems, including bones. Excess alcohol consumption also can have negative effects on bone health and predispose a person to falls and fractures.
Bone density test: Bone mineral density (BMD) tests measure bone density in various sites of the body. BMD measurements are often reported in terms of peak bone mass in young adults. However, people with OI, because of short stature, curvature of the spine, past vertebral fractures, or the presence of metal rodding, may not be able to get an accurate reading. Nearly all adults who have OI have low BMD. However, a baseline measurement in early middle age can be an important part of health management for adults with OI. This gives them a personal standard to compare to and determine whether their bone density is changing over time or as the result of treatment.
Medication: There is no cure for osteoporosis. However, medications are available to prevent bone loss, increase bone mass, and treat the disease. Women and men who have OI seem to be using these medications successfully. Consult with your doctor to determine which medication is right for you. These medications usually require long-term use.