Osteodystrophy (cont.)

How is osteodystrophy treated?

Controlling PTH levels prevents calcium from being withdrawn from the bones. Usually, overactive parathyroid glands are controllable with a change in diet, dialysis treatment, or medication. The drug cinacalcet hydrochloride (Sensipar), approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004, lowers PTH levels by imitating calcium. If PTH levels can't be controlled, the parathyroid glands may need to be removed surgically.

If your kidneys aren't making adequate amounts of calcitriol, you can take synthetic calcitriol as a pill or in an injectable form. Your doctor may prescribe a calcium supplement in addition to calcitriol.

Renal osteodystrophy can also be treated with changes in diet. Reducing dietary intake of phosphorus is one of the most important steps in preventing bone disease. Almost all foods contain phosphorus, but it's especially high in milk, cheese, dried beans, peas, nuts, and peanut butter. Limit drinks such as cocoa, dark sodas, and beer. Often, medications such as calcium carbonate (Tums), calcium acetate (PhosLo), sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel), or lanthanum carbonate (Fosrenol) are prescribed with meals and snacks to bind phosphorus in the bowel. These decrease the absorption of phosphorus into the blood. Be sure your phosphate binder is aluminum-free because aluminum can be toxic and cause anemia. A renal dietitian can help develop a dietary plan to control phosphorus levels in the blood.

Exercise has been found to increase bone strength in some patients. It's important, however, to consult a doctor or health care professional before beginning any exercise program.

A good treatment program, including proper attention to dialysis, diet, and medications, can improve your body's ability to repair bones damaged by renal osteodystrophy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014


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