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Osteoporosis is a common disease, and it affects women and men. In Canada, 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 5 men have osteoporosis. For every 100 people in Canada who break a bone, less than 20 will have a bone density test or get treatment for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects your bones. It means you have bones that are thin and brittle and have lots of holes inside them like a sponge. This makes them easy to break. It also increases your risk for spine, wrist and hip fractures. These fractures may make it hard for you to live on your own.
Bisphosphonates are the most common medicines used to prevent bone loss. Most of the time, you take them as pills. They slow the way bone dissolves and is absorbed by your body. They can increase bone thickness and strength.
These medicines can have side effects, such as nausea, heartburn and belly pain.
Certain bone problems have also been reported in people when taking bisphosphonates. Out of 1,000 people, about 1 person has a bone side effect during a year of taking bisphosphonates. That means 999 out of 1,000 people do not have a bone side effect.
These bone side effects include problems with the jaw bone (called osteonecrosis). They also might include a certain kind of fracture of the thigh bone (called an atypical fracture), but more research is needed to find out if taking bisphosphonates is a cause of these fractures.
Thinking about the facts and your feelings can help you make a decision that is right for you. Be sure you understand the benefits and risks of your options, and think about what else you need to do before you make the decision.
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Adaptation Date: 10/31/2019
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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