• Talking to Your Doctor About Osteoporosis

    You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with osteoporosis. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
    Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
    • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
    • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
    • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
    • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
    • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for osteoporosis?
    • How do I know if someone in my family had or has osteoporosis? (What physical signs or symptoms should I be looking for?)
    • Am I currently taking any medication that puts me at higher risk for developing osteoporosis?
    • How can I prevent osteoporosis?
    • How do I know if my bone density is low?
    • How do I know if I have fractured a bone in my spine?
    • How do I best treat osteoporosis?
    • What medicines are available to help me?
      • What are the benefits/side effects of these medicines?
      • I have a family history of breast cancer . Should I take estrogen replacement therapy or combined hormone replacement therapy?
      • I have a family history of coronary heart disease , stroke , and/or blood clots. Should I take estrogen replacement therapy or hormone replacement therapy?
      • Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
    • Do any of the medicines I am taking for other conditions cause dizziness, light-headedness, disorientation, or a loss of balance that could lead to a fall?
    • Do any of the medicines I’m taking contribute to bone loss?
    • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
      How much calcium is right for me?
      • How do I best obtain this calcium?
      • Should I be taking calcium supplements?
    • Do I need to worry about my vitamin D intake?
    • Are there other dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
    • Should I engage in exercise?
      • What kind of exercise is best?
      • How often should I exercise?
      • How do I get started with an exercise program?
      • If I've already broken a bone, should I still exercise? What precautions should I take?
    • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
    • How can I find help to quit smoking?
    • What can I do to decrease my risk of falling?
    • Should I rearrange things in my home?
    • How do I know that my prevention or treatment program is effective?
    • Will you regularly monitor my bone density?
    • Will I lose height?

    References

    National Institutes of Health, Osteoporosis, and Related Bone Diseases Resource Center. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/bone/ .

    National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nof.org/ .

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