Overview for Caregivers - Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thin, less dense and weak which leads to severe pain, movement problems and a higher chance of breaking a bone (1)(2).
Since the weakening of bones cannot be felt; breaking a bone, getting shorter or curving in the upper back can be the first sign of osteoporosis (2). Broken bones due to osteoporosis most commonly occur in the hip, spine or wrist (2). When the bones of the spine are affected by osteoporosis, a stooped or hunched posture is often the result (2).
There are a number of management options and medications available to treat or reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Healthy eating, getting regular exercise and making sure your family member/friend is getting enough calcium and Vitamin D are important to keep and build healthy bones (3).
- Educating yourself about osteoporosis can help you provide better care for your loved one. Explore Osteoporosis Canada’s toll-free information line to speak to a trained volunteer or access their multilingual resources on osteoporosis.
- Your loved one’s family doctor can assess risk factors, testing and treatment options right for them. A Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test – asafe and painless way to measure bone density and monitor bone loss, can determine if an individual has osteoporosis or how likely they are to develop it in the future (4). Testing involves lying on a table for several minutes while the spine and hip are X-rayed.
(1) Osteoporosis Canada (2018). About the disease. Retrieved from
(2) National Osteoporosis Foundation. (2018). What is osteoporosis and what causes it? Retrieved from https://www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/
(3) Osteoporosis Canada. (2018). Bone health and osteoporosis. Retrieved from https://osteoporosis.ca/bone-health-osteoporosis/
(4) Osteoporosis Canada. (2018). Why should I get tested? Retrieved from https://osteoporosis.ca/about-the-disease/diagnosis/why-should-i-get-tested/