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The Importance of Bones



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Your bones form the framework for your body. They allow you to sit, to stand, and to walk. They protect the vital organs inside your body, like your heart and lungs. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones over time, making them thinner, more brittle, and more likely to break. A fracture can be a life-changing event. It can make it harder to get around and do things on your own. That’s why it’s important to learn all you can about your bones, especially if you are a woman with postmenopausal osteoporosis at high risk for fracture.

Normal bone
Osteoporotic bone

Bone images courtesy of David W. Dempster, PhD, 2000. Reproduced with permission.

Thinning bones: A close-up look

Photos taken through a microscope make it easier to see why bones affected by osteoporosis can break. Unlike normal bone, osteoporotic bone looks like a honeycomb. As osteoporosis develops, the honeycomb holes become larger—making the bone tissue thinner and weaker. This puts you at risk for fractures.

Thinner bones put you at risk for fracture

  • If left untreated, osteoporosis can advance painlessly until a bone breaks (fractures).
  • Bones can become so weak that they can break from a minor fall.
  • Most osteoporosis-related fractures occur in the hip, spine, and wrist, but other bones can be affected.
  • A fracture due to postmenopausal osteoporosis can be a life-changing event.

Learn how a medication works to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis

Help stop the development of the cells that cause bone loss

Once calcium becomes part of your bones, it stays there.

In fact, if you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, your body will release it from your bones.

Learn More

Testing bone density

Have you had a bone density test within the last 2 years? The most common test for tracking bone density time is the DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. A DXA (sometimes pronounced "dexa") scan is fast, accurate, pain-free, and has very low radiation. A DXA scan provides your doctor with information about your postmenopausal osteoporosis management plan.

Understanding T-score

The results of a bone density test such as DXA scan are known as a "T-score". As the graph below shows, the lower your T-score, the weaker your bones and the greater your fracture risk can be. Talk to your doctor about your results. If you don't know your T-score, or you have never had a DXA scan, ask your doctor.

Need help talking to your doctor?

Prepare for your next appointment with this helpful questionnaire

Why it's important to know your T-score

A bone density scan gives you a T-score that helps determine whether you're at risk for fractures. A T-score compares your bone density to the bone density of a healthy, young adult woman. A T-score of -2.5 or lower is defined as osteoporosis. The lower the score, the greater your fracture risk can be.

Bone density graph

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women who are taking an osteoporosis medication should get a DXA scan 1 to 2 years after initiating therapy and every 2 years thereafter. (In some cases, a doctor may recommend more frequent testing.)

Important Safety Information

Do not take Prolia® (denosumab) if you: have low blood calcium; or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, as Prolia® may harm your unborn baby; or are allergic to denosumab or any ingredients in Prolia®.

What is the most important information I should know about Prolia®?

If you receive Prolia®, you should not receive XGEVA®. Prolia® contains the same medicine as XGEVA® (denosumab).

Prolia® can cause serious side effects:

Serious allergic reactions have happened in people who take Prolia®. Call your doctor or go to your nearest emergency room right away if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including low blood pressure (hypotension); trouble breathing; throat tightness; swelling of your face, lips, or tongue; rash; itching; or hives.

Low blood calcium (hypocalcemia). Prolia® may lower the calcium levels in your blood. If you have low blood calcium, it may get worse during treatment. Your low blood calcium must be treated before you receive Prolia®.

Take calcium and vitamin D as your doctor tells you to help prevent low blood calcium.

Severe jaw bone problems (osteonecrosis) may occur. Your doctor should examine your mouth before you start Prolia® and may tell you to see your dentist. It is important for you to practice good mouth care during treatment with Prolia®.

Unusual thigh bone fractures. Some people have developed unusual fractures in their thigh bone. Symptoms of a fracture include new or unusual pain in your hip, groin, or thigh.

Serious infections in your skin, lower stomach area (abdomen), bladder, or ear may happen. Inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis) due to an infection may also happen more often in people who take Prolia®. You may need to go to the hospital for treatment.

Prolia® is a medicine that may affect the ability of your body to fight infections. People who have weakened immune systems or take medicines that affect the immune system may have an increased risk for developing serious infections.

Skin problems such as inflammation of your skin (dermatitis), rash, and eczema have been reported.

Bone, joint, or muscle pain. Some people who take Prolia® develop severe bone, joint, or muscle pain.

Before taking Prolia®, tell your doctor if you:

  • Take the medicine XGEVA® (denosumab)
  • Have low blood calcium
  • Cannot take daily calcium and vitamin D
  • Had parathyroid or thyroid surgery (glands located in your neck)
  • Have been told you have trouble absorbing minerals in your stomach or intestines (malabsorption syndrome)
  • Have kidney problems or are on kidney dialysis
  • Plan to have dental surgery or teeth removed
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed

What are the possible side effects of Prolia®?

It is not known if the use of Prolia® over a long period of time may cause slow healing of broken bones. The most common side effects of Prolia® are back pain, pain in your arms and legs, high cholesterol, muscle pain, and bladder infection.

These are not all the possible side effects of Prolia®. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Indication Prolia® is a prescription medicine used to treat osteoporosis in women after menopause who:

  • are at high risk for fracture, meaning women who have had a fracture related to osteoporosis, or who have multiple risk factors for fracture
  • cannot use another osteoporosis medicine or other osteoporosis medicines did not work well
Full Safety Information and Indication

Important Safety Information

Do not take Prolia® (denosumab) if you: have low blood calcium; or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, as Prolia® may harm your unborn baby; or are allergic to denosumab or any ingredients in Prolia®.

What is the most important information I should know about Prolia®?

Important safety information & Indication