You've just recently been diagnosed with bone loss and you have no idea what to do next. Here are questions you should ask your doctor after you receive a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Is my bone loss a result of heredity? If your bone loss is a result of heredity, you can't change that, but you can improve your diet and exercise and also include more calcium and vitamin D.
Do I have a secondary cause for bone loss as a result of taking medicines known to cause osteoporosis? Many of us have a secondary cause for osteoporosis, like taking prednisone for an extended period, or having a common medical disorder that can cause osteoporosis, like malabsorption syndromes which can prevent vitamin and mineral absorption.
Do I have any medical conditions that cause bone loss? Here is a list of the most common medical conditions that may cause bone loss.
What tests should I have to determine the state of my bone loss? If you find out which tests you should have you'll have a better idea what you should choose for treatment.
- Do I have a vitamin D deficiency, and how much should I take on a daily basis? If you find your vitamin D is very low, you'll need to correct that before trying any drug treatment for osteoporosis.
How much calcium should I get through my diet and supplements? Your doctor can help you determine this by having you fill out a diary of your daily calcium intake. It is much easier to absorb dietary calcium, but you do need to know how much you are getting.
What percentage of bone loss occurs after menopause? Once we reach menopause we stop producing hormones and a loss of estrogen can cause bone loss. If you know how much to expect to lose this will help in understanding your T-scores.
What are my DXA score numbers and what do they mean? These scores will tell you if you have mild bone loss or severe. Generally, a T-score below -2.5 along with a fracture is considered severe osteoporosis.
How much exercise should I do to prevent further bone loss? You may already do exercise, but you'll need to increase weight-bearing, muscle strengthening, posture and flexibility training.
What should I consider to treat my osteoporosis? After all modifiable causes of bone loss have been identified, like vitamin D deficiency or steroid use, you can then consider what you'll need to do to increase or maintain your bone mineral density.
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can determine your next step.
National Osteoporosis Foundation. (February 24, 2015). "Learn About Osteoporosis". Accessed: February 24, 2015 from: http://nof.org/learn
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