Osteoporosis affects 2.3 million Canadians and is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue over time. It is known as the “silent thief” because it occurs over decades with no associated symptoms. By the time a fracture occurs, the disease is advanced and the best option is medication to prevent future fracture risk. Unfortunately, while many of my patients fear medication and prefer natural options, the reality is supplements are not as effective as medication to reduce fracture risk.
Osteoporosis reduces quality of life, contributes to reduced or loss of mobility and lack of independence, and in some cases death. 22% of women and 33% of men who suffer a hip fracture will die within the following year. 
You have decades to prevent this, are you doing it right?
Who should be screened?
- Women 65 years and over, and men 70 years and older should be screened for osteoporosis
- Younger post-menopausal women, women in the menopausal transition, and men aged 50-69 years with clinical risk factors
- Adults who have a fracture at age 50 years and older
- Adults with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or organ transplant, or taking a medication (glucocorticoids, aromatase inhibitors, androgen deprivation therapy) that is associated with low bone mass or bone loss. 
Many people are falling through the cracks and are not getting timely screening. That is one way I help patients. Diving deep into your history and asking the right questions can help to identify those who are higher risk and need advocacy for appropriate, sometimes early, screening and an effective prevention plan. Many patients are misinformed about the best prevention plan and too many women don’t realize that menopause is their biggest risk for osteoporosis.
Let's crack open some common myths about osteoporosis (pun intended).
Myth #1: Walking is the best exercise for bone health and reducing fractures.
If you are sedentary and currently don’t get much exercise, than brisk walking can definitely help to build bones. But if you are currently active than you need to ensure you are getting in strength training at least 2 times a week. 3 times a week is best. And the best outcomes are achieved with supervised fitness sessions. This is important to make sure you are lifting weights properly to avoid injury and that you are using the right weight to build muscle. Preventing fractures also means preventing falls in the first place. Balance exercises should also be included in your osteoporosis prevention plan on a daily basis.
Myth #2: Supplements can reverse osteoporosis.
Some supplements can help prevent osteoporosis if you are deficient, such as adequate calcium and vitamin D. However, once osteoporosis sets in, the best treatment to reduce fractures according to the best available evidence is medications. The best prevention plan includes a comprehensive approach that includes quitting smoking, limited alcohol, adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D, the right type of exercise, and identifying risks for falls such as vision and gait problems, low blood pressure, sedating medications, and loose rugs in the home and other tripping hazards.
Myth #3: You don’t have to worry about osteoporosis until menopause.
The biggest risk for women is menopause. Women will lose 10-12% of their bone during the menopausal transition. However, bone loss occurs throughout adulthood at a rate of 1-2% per year.
Myth #4: Only women get osteoporosis.
While women may be at a higher risk for osteoporosis, it still impacts men and many are not screened appropriately.
Myth #5: If you have osteoporosis you can’t build bone.
If you have an evidenced based intervention plan, you can build bone but you need to start now. Bone changes occur very slowly over time but small improvements in bone density can significantly reduce fracture risk.
Here’s a simple, validated tool to assess your risk for osteoporosis using your weight and age, without a bone mineral density test.
Click here to get an estimate of your daily calcium intake.
I want you to live the life you want to. Reach out to find out how we can work together.
 Osteoporosis Canada. https://osteoporosis.ca/what-is-osteoporosis/
 LeBoff MS, Greenspan SL, Insogna KL, et al. The clinician's guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis [published correction appears in Osteoporos Int. 2022 Jul 28. Osteoporos Int. 2022;33(10):2049-2102.
 Kanis, J., Cooper, C., Rizzoli, R. et al. European guidance for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int 30, 3–44 (2019).
Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.
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