Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Talking to Your Doctor About Osteoporosis

You have a unique health history. It’s important to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors or experience with osteoporosis. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have someone else hear what’s said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask the doctor to clarify if needed.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions. Feel free to ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Developing Osteoporosis

  • Based on my health history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk?
  • How do I know if someone in my family had or has osteoporosis? What should I be looking for?
  • Am I taking any medicine that puts me at higher risk for getting osteoporosis?
  • How can I stop from getting osteoporosis?
  • How do I know if my bone density is low? Do I need a test?
  • How do I know if I have broken bone in my spine?

About Treatment Options

  • How do I best treat osteoporosis?
  • What medicines can help me?
    • What are the benefits and side effects of these medicines?
    • Will these medicines interact with other medicines, or dietary or herbal supplements I take?
  • Do any of the medicines I am taking for other conditions cause lightheadedness, confusion, or a balance problems?
  • Do any of the medicines I’m taking speed up bone loss?
  • Are there any alternative therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • How much calcium is right for me?
    • How do I get calcium?
    • Should I be taking calcium supplements?
  • Do I need to worry about my vitamin D intake?
  • Are there other dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
  • Should I exercise?
    • What kind is best?
    • How often should I do it?
    • How do I get started with a program?
    • If I've already broken a bone, should I still exercise? What precautions should I take?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • What can I do to decrease my risk of falling?
  • Should I rearrange things in my home?

About Your Outlook

  • How do I know that my prevention or care program is working?
  • Will you regularly watch my bone density?
  • Will I lose height?
REFERENCES:

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed June 26, 2018.

Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113815/Osteoporosis. Updated February 1, 2018. Accessed June 26, 2018.

Questions to ask your healthcare provider about bone health and osteoporosis. National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Available at: https://cdn.nof.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Talking-with-your-Healthcare-Provider-checklist.pdf. Accessed June 26, 2018.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD  Last Updated: 6/26/2018