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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.

General Tips for Gathering Information

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.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Developing Osteoporosis

  • 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?

About Treatment Options

  • How do I best treat osteoporosis?
  • What medicines are available to help me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medicines?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
  • Do any of the medications 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 medications I’m taking contribute to bone loss?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • 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?

About Your Outlook

  • How do I know that my prevention or treatment program is effective?
  • Will you regularly monitor my bone density?
  • Will I lose height?

References:

Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 15, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2013.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html . Updated November 2010. Accessed July 22, 2013.



Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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