SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Osteoporosis is a silent disease that haunts millions of women in the U.S., but a new experimental treatment shows some promise in combating the chronic issue.

Peg Fischer loves to play golf. Elise Frazer teaches pre-school children. Both women have osteoporosis.

Bone Specialist Dr. Mara Horwitz explained how most women with the disease don’t know they have it until a fracture occurs, and even then, most of the fractures are painless.

“Women don’t realize that they have a fracture until they have had enough over time that they realize that all the sudden their pants are too long or they go to their doctor for their annual exam and they realize they’ve lost an inch or two in height,” said Dr. Horwitz.

Only 10% of women with osteoporosis have been diagnosed.

And while there are a number of medications to help treat the condition, they are far from perfect.

Researchers are now testing a new option. It’s called parathyroid hormone-related peptide—or PTHRP for short.

Early results show how post-menopausal women on the treatment can build bone and fight fractures.

In the study, women showed a 5% increase in bone density in the lumbar spine in just 90 days, something Dr. Horwitz explained would take as long as a year with current treatments. In the study, participants gave themselves daily injections of the drug. Peg is already done with the study.

“I feel stronger. I feel better. Now this might all be psychological but after the scan, I thought well I do have some improvement. Hope springs eternal” said Peg.

As for Elise, she already sees a bit more pep in her step.

“Now I found out I do have this weakness in my bones, and I was able to get the treatment soon” said Elise.

When it comes to healthy bones, and you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can help raise awareness of the debilitating effects of spinal fractures, by attending the first ever “Walk Tall for Life” walk and health fair in San Francisco.

For more information, visit:

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. Lee White says:

    Quit drinking soda. It’s full of phosphorus and eats bones.

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