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How effective are bone density treatments at preventing broken hips?

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Bone density treatments using oral bisphosphonate medications are up to 60 percent effective in preventing hip fractures, reports About.com. Other drugs administered in injections are also approved and effective, states Mayo Clinic. To be most effective, bone density treatments must be combined with natural remedies, such as a healthy diet, exercise, abstention from smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.

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Bisphosphonate medications slow down the rapid breakdown of bone due to aging, menopause, cortisone drugs and other causes, allowing a natural increase in bone density, explains About.com. The various types of bisphosphonate medications are all effective, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors usually schedule patients to take them on weekly or monthly schedules. Because the medications tend to cause heartburn and upset stomach, patients take them on an empty stomach with plenty of water and refrain from bending over, lying down or eating for about an hour.

Patients typically continue bisphosphonate medication treatment for three to five years, according to Mayo Clinic. After that amount of time, the medication lingers in the bones, and the positive effect continues. Long-term treatment with bisphosphonate medications in large doses sometimes causes cracks in thighbones and soreness in jawbones. Quarterly or annual injections of other medications, such as ibandronate or zoledronic acid, may not cause upset stomach but sometimes cause flu-like conditions in patients for one to three days.

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