What is Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that most commonly occurs in the hips and spine. It leads to loss of bone strength and increases your risk of fractures. Many people don’t even realize that they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
HealthChoicesFirst practitioner

Madelyn Morgan

Registered Dietitian
Niagara falls, ON
HealthChoicesFirst practitioner

Leah Mete RD

Registered Dietitian
St. Catharines, ON

Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP, Family Physician discusses Osteoporosis Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Quiz: Do You Understand Osteoporosis?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Osteoporosis is more common in men than in women.

Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men, because hormone changes during menopause affect bone density.

Osteoporosis can affect mental health.

There is a link between an osteoporosis diagnosis and mental health. People with osteoporosis may become depressed due to limitations in daily life, a fear of falling or embarassment over postural changes.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and assists the function of bone cells. There are only a few food sources of vitamin D, including fatty fish and cow's milk or plant-based milk. A little sun exposure also gives you a good dose of vitamin D. If you don't get enough vitamin D from food sources or sunlight, you may need to take a supplement.

Weight-bearing exercise should be avoided if you have osteoporosis.

Weight-bearing exercises such as tennis or step aerobics can be very beneficial for people with osteoporosis, but ask your doctor first. Weight-bearing exercises are those that you do on your feet. This makes your bones and muscles work against gravity to keep you upright, strengthening them over time.

High-sodium foods are bad for your bones.

Salt causes excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys. Because calcium is essential for bone strength, too much salt can weaken bones and lead to osteoporosis.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses Osteoporosis and Your Diet.

Good Nutrition for Osteoporosis

For those at risk for osteoporosis, nutrition is extremely important for bone health.

There are three micronutrients that you’d want to pay attention to: calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Calcium is a mineral that is found largely in dairy products such as fluid milk, yogurt and cheese, and you can also find it in a variety of vegetables such as broccoli.

Magnesium is also found in dairy products, and in things like nuts and leafy green vegetables like kale or spinach.

Vitamin D is probably the most important micronutrient of the three when it comes to bone health. Recent recommendations suggest that you take at least 1,000 international units or IUs per day for adequate blood levels to maintain healthy bones.

If you have more questions about how nutrition can help your bone health, talk to your local dietitian or medical professional.

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Ware, Registered Dietitian, North Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Osteoporosis Diagnosis and Treatment Options

When we talk about osteoporosis, we are really looking at your risk for fracture.

According to Osteoporosis Canada, if you are a low risk person it means your fracture risk in the next 10 years is under 10%. A moderate risk person has a fracture risk between 10 and 20%, and a high risk person has a fracture risk over 20%.

The risk of fracture is the serious event in osteoporosis, because fractures cause tremendous disability for patients. For example, if a women has a hip fracture, she has a one in five, or approximately 23% chance, of dying within the next couple of years.

Fractures lead to morbidity, which really reflects disability but they also lead to mortality. We know that when women and men have fractures they’re more likely to end up not being able to live independently. They’re more likely to end up in a nursing home.

And one of the dangers of fractures is that fractures are a predictor for another fracture. If you have a fracture of your back, for example, you’re more likely to have another fracture of your back, by about 40%. So it’s so important to prevent that very first fracture to keep you strong, to keep you upright, to keep you healthy.

In order to do a risk assessment for osteoporosis to assess your risk for fracture, it’s a good idea to see your family doctor to look at information on osteoporosis, which comes from Osteoporosis Canada, and evaluate your personal risk.

So, that you can decide with your primary care practitioner if you need medication to reduce your risk for fracture, so that you can live a long and active life and not be disabled.


Presenter: Dr. Vivien Brown, Family Doctor, Toronto, ON

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

Sarah Ware, BSc (Hons), RD, CDE, discusses Good Nutrition for Osteoporosis.

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