An Osteoporosis Guide For the Newly Diagnosed
If you’ve been diagnosed with bone loss, here are some very helpful links, to steer you in the right direction.
Remember bone loss doesn’t occur overnight and it can’t be treated that way either. This process takes time and will lead you into making any decisions related to your treatment.
Be careful; but don’t overstress about this. Stress causes us to lose more bone, so take it slow and be truly informed first.
What is osteoporosis?
If you have a DXA score below -2.5, you have osteoporosis. If your score is between -1.0 and -2.5 your diagnosis is osteopenia, which is a precursor to osteoporosis, so you may need to make some lifestyle changes, improve your diet and add weight bearing exercises and bone-healthy supplements.
If you’ve had a fragility fracture a fracture caused by a fall from a standing height or a low-impact injury this is a diagnosis of osteoporosis without needing to know your DXA scores for bone loss. Your DXA scores are important, but a fracture trumps a DXA score for diagnosing this in patients. Before we had DXA scans, a fragility fracture was the criteria you used to give a patient this diagnosis.
Diagnosing Osteoporosis and osteopenia:
- Having a DXA Scan: Start Here
- Beginners Guide to Osteoporosis
- DXA Scan Explained
- Osteoporosis Risk Factors
If you’ve tried exercise, diet, lifestyle changes and added supplements without seeing an increase in your DXA score, you may want to consider a medication for bone loss. These medications have side effects, like all medicines, so you should educate yourself on these possibilities and if you think you have a secondary medical issue that could add side effects, be sure to tell your doctor.
Treatment options for bone loss:
- Bisphosphonates: Which is Right for You
- Osteoporosis Medications
- New Drug Odanacatib
- Fosamax Side Effects and History
Weight bearing exercise is vital for strong bones. During exercise our muscles pull on our bones and increase their density, giving us improved bone mass and stronger, healthier bones.
Weight bearing exercise for strong bones:
- Exercise: How does it Work?
- Exercise Guidelines for Osteoporosis
- Tai Chi for Osteoporosis
- Top Ten Osteoporosis Exercises
We need to take bone-healthy vitamins and minerals to keep our bones strong. Calcium and vitamin D are two of the recommended supplements to take, and getting most of our calcium from our diet is best. You need to include items that are high in calcium, like: dairy, leafy greens and other high calcium foods. You should calculate your calcium from ALL sources to reach your daily goal. Vitamin D containing foods are: eggs, milk, fatty fish, fortified foods and some dairy products. You’ll need to supplement with vitamin D in addition to eating foods high in D to reach your daily requirements.
Supplements recommended for bone health:
- Top Ten Calcium-Rich Foods
- Bone-Building 101: Getting The Most From Your Daily Calcium
- Calcium Stealers: Medications and Substances That Impede the Absorption of Calcium
- Top Ten Foods High in Vitamin D
These articles will help you navigate a new osteoporosis diagnosis, plus give you treatment, exercise and supplements information that are good for your bones.
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_Pam is a patient educator and digital health writer who has worked for Remedy Health Media on their osteoporosis web site since 2008. Pam is also a group leader and moderator with the National Osteoporosis Foundation Inspire online community since 2012, answering questions and guiding members who are newly diagnosed with bone loss**.** _
Pam wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Osteoporosis.