On your way to the doctor’s office? Good for you! Regular check-ups are key to remaining happy and carefree well into your later years.
But routine visits alone aren’t enough to guarantee good health. You also need to ask the right questions. Bone loss is a natural part of aging, but if you fail to consider it, you run the risk of breaks and other complications. Asking the right questions can help both you and your doctor protect your bones from potential osteoporotic fractures.
With that in mind, here are a few things you should ask your doctor about at your next check-up.
How do I know if I’m at risk of osteoporosis?
Several factors can result in an increased risk of osteoporosis. Men generally begin to experience bone loss around the age of 65, and women at the onset of menopause. Those who consume less than 1000 mg of calcium per day may also begin to suffer from poor bone health. Alcohol and tobacco consumption, parental hip fractures, and a history of fractures occurring with minimal trauma also significant risk factors for osteoporosis.
Many patients don’t realize they have osteoporosis until they suffer a painful hip, spine or wrist fracture. However, there are other, less severe warning signs that can help you identify the condition in its earlier stages.
If you’re suffering from height loss, osteoporosis should be a major concern. Since bone loss can accelerate for those over 50, patients in that age range should also consult their doctors to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
While osteoporosis can only be managed effectively but not cured, there are ways to both reduce the risk of the condition. In each case, diet and exercise are crucial. Osteoporosis Canada encourages patients over 50 to consume three servings of high-calcium dairy products per day. Alternatively, they can substitute these items for calcium-rich soy beverages, juice, or fish.
Regular exercise can also help patients reduce their risk of osteoporosis. Specifically, strength training, balance exercises, posture awareness, and aerobic activity can all help protect Canadians from falls and fractures. Speak to your doctor about prevention or treatment of osteoporosis to find a plan that’s right for you.
What is a 10-year fracture risk assessment and should I take one?
While measuring bone mineral density (BMD) levels can help doctors determine a patient’s level of bone loss, more information is needed to determine your risk of fracture. A 10-year fracture risk assessment offers a more complete analysis, examining multiple factors to determine a patient’s risk for the condition. Potential indicators include BMD levels, age, gender, steroid use and past fractures. Once completed, the assessment can help a physician determine their patient’s fracture risk.
When heading to your next doctor’s appointment, be sure to print out the following osteoporosis risk sheet to help guide your conversation and remind you of which questions to ask.