Talk to Your Doctor

This fact sheet may not include all medications or all medical conditions that can contribute to fractures. If you are taking any medications or suffer from any medical conditions that may increase bone loss or the risk of falls, talk to your doctor and request a fracture risk assessment, which is a more in-depth assessment of your bone health. To do this your doctor may suggest you have a bone mineral density (BMD) test. This is a painless test that can help to predict your likelihood of fracture. Your doctor will also need to consider other risk factors including your age, sex, fracture history, parental history of hip fracture and glucocorticoid use.

Calcium, Protein and Vitamin D

The Osteoporosis Canada (OC) fact sheet Nutrition: Healthy Eating for HealthyBones can help you determine if you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. OC recommends that as much as possible, calcium intake should be from food, and supplements should only be taken if one cannot consume sufficient calcium from the diet. On the other hand, there are few food sources of vitamin D and sun is an unreliable source, so OC recommends daily vitamin D supplementation all year round for all Canadian adults. A balanced diet, following Canada’s Food Guide, will ensure that you get sufficient protein and other nutrients essential for bone health.

Regular Exercise

Exercise helps build and maintain strong muscles and bones. The OC fact sheet Exercise for Healthy Bones provides good general guidelines for choosing the exercise that is right for you.

Smoking and Alcohol

Any type and amount of smoking contributes to bone loss and increases the risk of osteoporosis in both men and women. Drinking an average of three or more alcoholic beverages per day may also increase bone loss and fracture risk. OC recommends no smoking and no more than an average of two alcoholic drinks daily.