Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that quietly robs bone of its core strength; its bone mass or density. Some people never know they have osteoporosis until their doctor finds a bone fracture, often in their spine, wrist or hip. All such fractures are painful and can be disabling. Spine fractures can also lead to loss of height and a stooped posture.
The good news is that osteoporosis is preventable and controllable! It is wise to talk to your doctor about the likelihood of you developing osteoporosis. To help you raise the subject with your doctor, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Identify the Risks
Various risk factors that can lead to osteoporosis are listed below. Take a few moments to print the list and circle factors that apply to you.
Women and Men Aged 40 Plus
(Check the statements that apply to you)
- I have had a fracture as an adult.
- My family has a history of osteoporosis (heredity).
- I am Caucasian or Asian.
- I am thin, frail, and/ or have a small frame.
- I do not exercise regularly.
- I am a smoker.
- I drink alcohol at least 3 times each week and sometimes I drink a lot at one time.
- My diet doesn?t include much calcium (eg, dairy products, kelp) or vitamin D (eg, cheese, egg yolks).
- I have/ have had an eating disorder (eg, anorexia nervosa) and/ or occasionally "crash diet."
- I have been prescribed corticosteroids and/ or anticonvulsants.
- I am getting less stable on my feet, and occasionally fall down.
- Women only: I am 45 or under and menopause has begun, or I am 50 or older and am postmenopausal.
- Men only: I have been diagnosed as having a low testosterone level.
Step 2: Review the List with Your Doctor
Take the list above to your appointment with your doctor. After discussing your answers, your doctor may recommend a Bone Mineral Density test (BMD). This test is painless, rather quick, and can help the doctor to diagnose or predict osteoporosis. On reviewing the results of your BMD test, you and your doctor will be able to discuss and agree on an effective prevention or treatment plan.
Remember, osteoporosis is usually a preventable disease. Take the time to understand your risk of osteoporosis today, and you will thank yourself 20 years from now!