What to Ask: Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones of older adults (both men and women), making them more fragile and easy to break. Osteoporosis can happen when people have not built up good bones when they are young, and then lose bone as they get older. Bone loss can be due to a poor diet, lack of activity, certain medications, smoking, or some medical conditions. Osteoporosis is also more common in people with a family history of osteoporosis (for example, if your mother or grandmother had osteoporosis). Some people don't know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone, and others notice that their back is getting more and more curved, or they are getting shorter.

Here are questions you can ask your health care provider if you are concerned about osteoporosis or need information about treatment:

  1. How can I tell if I have osteoporosis?
  2. Once I have osteoporosis, can it go away?
  3. Can my bones just break on their own?
  4. What can I do with my diet to help prevent osteoporosis?
  5. Milk doesn't settle well with me - what other foods have a lot of calcium?
  6. What about calcium pills?  There are so many brands out there - which is the best?
  7. Should I take calcium with meals or in between meals?
  8. Do I need to take vitamin D? How much?
  9. Are there medications to help make osteoporosis better?
  10. Are there medications to help me build up more bone?
  11. Do any of the medications that I am now taking make osteoporosis worse?
  12. Are there any kinds of exercises that can help?
  13. If so, how much exercise should I do?
  14. If my bones are thin, is there anything I can do to prevent an injury if I fall?