Where do you go when you want to find information about osteoporosis?
First, you probably don’t call your doctor. Doctors are busy; you feel guilty "bothering" your doctor unless you’re really sick. A doctor’s appointment can be expensive, even if you have health insurance. Besides, what would you say? "Doctor, could you tell me all about osteoporosis?"
Second, you can go online. Like you clearly did, if you’re reading these words. This site includes a wealth of information about osteoporosis, from "A Newbie’s Introduction to Bone Health," for those of you just beginning to learn about osteoporosis or osteopenia; to down-to-earth information on exercise, including stratagems on how to get enough of the right kind; to our series on osteoporosis drugs, and how to decide which one might be right for you.
Then again, sometimes you just want a quick answer to a specific question. Pam Flores, our expert patient here at osteoporosisconnection.com, is always ready with an answer. How should you carry Forteo when you travel? How do calcium supplements interact with your bisphosphonate drug? Why do your legs hurt? Pam can help.
Sometimes, though, you simply want to settle down with a good book. I’m online all the time; I rely on the Internet for fast information on everything from osteoporosis and breast cancer, to the current temperature outside my door, to a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookie.
But all that skipping from site to site sometimes makes me dizzy; and I become nostalgic for the days when information came from a book, read beginning to end.
So I decided to find a good osteoporosis book. One written in plain English, with a compelling style not too technical, but not talking down to me, either. I wanted a book that was heavy on practical advice, and light on science" without totally ignoring the osteoclast/osteoblast stuff.
So what did I do? I went online, of course. To Amazon. Where I was met with a "revolutionary diet" to prevent osteoporosis, books that would reveal “what your doctor doesn’t tell you”" In other words, a whole lot of books that sounded, well, a little shaky.
Plan B: my local library. Duh Librarians are trained to select books; and budgetary constraints mean they work hard to purchase only the best ones. So I hopped on my bike, and off to the library I went. A quick browse on the computer (no more card catalogue) led me to 616.7 in non-fiction, a small but focused section including 27 books focusing mainly on arthritis, with ah-HA! a couple on osteoporosis.
Of the two osteoporosis books, I chose the newest: Strong Women, Strong Bones Everything You Need to Know to Prevent, Treat, and Beat Osteoporosis. I was a bit hesitant about how up-to-date it would be, with a publication date of 2000. But I took it home anyway, and here’s what I found:
Easy read. TONS of good information. Just what the doctor ordered.
Strong Women, Strong Bones starts with the requisite anatomy, then quickly becomes a reader-centered guide to osteoporosis. If you don’t already have osteoporosis, you can start by assessing your risk, via a simple but thorough questionnaire. If you already know you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, you can skip right to the "what to do about it" sections, where you’ll learn more than you thought possible about diet, and exercise.
Drugs are covered, but minimally, and I found this entirely appropriate. With osteoporosis medications changing all the time, any printed information quickly becomes outdated. I’d advise you to skip the section on drugs entirely, and rely instead on your health care provider, and this site, for questions you have about drugs.
With an easy to read glossary (wondering what parathyroid hormone is?), to a comprehensive section of illustrated exercises, to a "bone-healthy shopping list" and calcium-rich sample menus, Strong Women, Strong Bones tells you everything you need to know about osteoporosis (and how to deal with it) in the friendliest, easiest way imaginable.
One caveat: The original was published in 2000, an updated and revised edition in 2006; try to get the revised edition, simply because the original includes information about hormone replacement therapy that’s now blatantly out of date.
Strong Women, Strong Bones, by Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D. and Sarah Wernick, Ph.D.; 320-page softcover, illustrations.
PJ Hamel is senior digital content editor and food writer at King Arthur Flour, and a James Beard award-winning author. A 16-year breast cancer survivor, her passion is helping women through this devastating disease. She manages a large and active online survivor support network based at her local hospital and shares her wisdom and experience with the greater community via HealthCentral.com.