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Common Questions

Q: I have been told that I have Osteoporosis but I am only twenty-five years of age. I thought it was an old woman’s disease?

A: Osteoporosis can affect men, women and children of all ages. For more information on some of the causes of osteoporosis, click here.

Q: How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?

A: A bone density scan, called a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DXA scan, Which measures the bone density of the Lumbar spine and hip, it is used to measure the density of bones. For more information, and a list of DXA scanners throughout the country, click here.

Q: I have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis but I don’t know how I got it, as I have always eaten healthily?

A: While a poor diet can be a cause of osteoporosis, it is only one of many factors that can predispose to osteoporosis. For more information on some of the causes of osteoporosis, click here.

Q: My sister has been diagnosed with Osteoporosis and she is only 52. Should I get myself checked, as I am 54 years of age?

A: Osteoporosis can run in families, so you should have your bone density checked. Click here for a list of DXA scanners.

Q: What should I eat to help prevent Osteoperisis?

A: For information on Nutrition, click here

Q: I don’t eat meat or dairy products, as I am a vegan. How can I prevent myself from getting Osteoporosis?

A: You can decrease your chances of getting Osteoporosis by eating adequate calories and calcium rich foods such as green vegetables and nuts. And you should include dairy products such as calcium and vitamin D enriched milk, cheese and yoghurt. You should also try to eat protein, which can be found in lentils and tofu as too little protein can affect the collagen content of bone. You can also take calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Q: How much Vitamin D do I need daily?

A: According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the following are the recommended daily allowances of vitamin D:
Aged 1-10: 10 micrograms of Vitamin D per day
Aged 11+: 7.5 micrograms of Vitamin D per day
during the second half of pregnancy and the first six months of lactation: 10 micrograms of Vitamin D per day.
Your body can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. You can also get it from margarine, fish oils and oily fish, egg yolks and fortified foods. You can also take supplements.

Q: How much Calcium do I need daily? Is there such a thing as too much Calcium?

A: Click here for the Recommended Daily Allowances of calcium. You can take too much calcium particularly if you do not drink sufficient fluids, e.g. 2-3 litres of water, this is more important in hot weather.

Q: Why are the elderly so at risk of Osteoporosis?

A: There are many reasons why they are more at risk than younger people. If they are thin, their bones will not be protected, as they will have low of oestrogen. Many do not have a well balanced diet with sufficient calories. They tend not to eat healthy daily meals, as pre-packed food is easier. Many do not take adequate weight bearing exercise and often have other medical problems that will increase the risk of osteoporosis.

As people get older they tend not be active as they used too, which will place them person at a higher risk of falling due to decreased muscle strength and decreased endurance. A person’s balance, strength and endurance in the majority of cases can be improved no matter what age they are. We recommend that before a person with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis begins an exercise programme that a Chartered Physiotherapist assess them.

Q: I have heard that there are no treatments for Osteoporosis Is this true?

A: This is incorrect. Click here for information on osteoporosis treatments.

Q: Is calcium the only treatment for Osteoporosis?

A : No. Calcium is only one part of the treatment of osteoporosis. For more information, click here

Q: I exercise regularly and I eat a healthy diet. Does this mean that I am not at risk of ever developing Osteoporosis?

A: No that is not true. While it is good that you have a healthy diet and exercise regularly you may still be at risk from developing osteoporosis due to other risk factors. Click here for more information.

Q: I drink a glass of wine with my lunch and a glass with my dinner every day. Will this put me at risk of Osteoporosis?

A: One glass of wine/ beer/sherry or measure of spirits = 1 unit of alcohol. One pint of beer = 2 units of alcohol
Drinking over 14 units of alcohol per week for women or more than 21 units alcohol per week for men is not recommended and can increase your risk of Osteoporosis. As people age, they need to be careful regarding alcohol consumption. We recommend that people check with their GP regarding this matter. Alcohol can be contraindicated with certain medications and if a person has had “near” falls or falls, decreasing or eliminating alcohol consumption should be considered.

Q: I had an ovary removed when I was in my thirties, am I at risk for Osteoporosis?

A: Removal of an ovary or ovaries can place a person at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. You should visit a DXA clinic to have a bone density scan. Click here for more information.

Q: I drink approximately 8-10 cups of coffee a day, can caffeine harm my bones?

A: High-caffeine intake is one of the risk factures of osteoporosis. You should cut down your caffeine intake and arrange a visit a DXA clinic to have a bone density scan. Click here for more information.

Q: I bumped my arm against a doorway and broke my wrist bone. Should I be concerned about having Osteoporosis?

A: A low-impact fracture can occur as a result of osteoporosis. As osteoporosis causes the bones to be less dense, a slight knock can cause a fracture. If you are concerned you may have osteoporosis, you should arrange a bone density scan. Click here for a list of DXA scanners in Ireland.

Q: My mum had a coughing fit, followed by severe pain in her rib area; she was than diagnosed with fractured ribs. How can this happen as she did not have a fall?

A: Your mother may have suffered what is termed a low-trauma fracture. As bones become less dense due to osteoporosis, a slight knock or even a coughing fit can cause a fracture. If she hasn’t done so already, your mother should have a DXA scan to measure her bone mineral density. If she has osteoporosis or marked osteopenia, she should then be prescribed medication to help prevent future fractures.

Q: I had a hysterectomy several years ago and have not experienced any problems secondary to it. I have just read an article that stated that people who have had hysterectomies are a higher risk of developing Osteoporosis. How can I find out if I am risk?

A: Osteoporosis is a silent disease; you should have a bone density scan. This is the most accurate and reliable means of assessing the strength of your bones and your risk of breaking a bone. For more information, click here.

Q: My mother has been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, am I at risk?

A: A family history of osteoporosis is a risk factor. If your mother has osteoporosis then you are at risk as well. You should arrange a bone density scan. Click here for a list of DXA scanners in Ireland.

Q: I had an Osteoporosis test done in a mobile unit. I was told that I would not get Osteoporosis till I was in my 80’s. How can they know this?

A: This is not true. They could not know. The IOS does not recommend mobile bone density testing units for diagnosing osteoporosis. The area of the body they test, for example the heel, may be okay, but you may have osteoporosis in your hips or spine. If you think you are at risk from osteoporosis (do the risk test here) you should arrange to have a DXA scan. Click here for a list of DXA scan units around the country.

Q: I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis I year ago and was recommended to take an Osteoporosis medication. I did not take the medicine, as I don’t like to take pills. I have increased my calcium and vitamin D intake and I am walking every day. Is this enough to prevent it from getting worse?

A: No. It is very important that you take your osteoporosis medication, along with calcium and vitamin D and weight-bearing exercise. It is the combination of all three that may help prevent your osteoporosis from getting worse.

Q: How can a person know if they have Osteoporosis? What are the signs or symptoms?

A: Unfortunately osteoporosis has no symptoms until you suffer a bone fracture. You can, however, gauge your risk of osteoporosis by doing our risk assessment test. Loss of height, low trauma fractures is some of the symptoms. If you think you are at risk you should arrange to have a DXA scan. Click here for a list of DXA scan units around the country.