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OSTEOPOROSIS: Six Common Misconceptions

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Do you know these six, important, common misconceptions about osteoporosis?

  1. Many people think that because their bones feel fine, they don’t have a bone density issue. This is wrong. Osteoporosis is painless until you break a bone.
  2. Just because your mom didn’t break a hip or vertebra, it doesn’t mean she didn’t have osteoporosis. And even so, your osteoporosis inheritance pattern might have come from your dad’s side… just like your curly hair and your bunions did.
  3. Osteoporosis has NOTHING to do with osteoarthritis. A lot of folks think that if they don’t have osteoarthritis, they don’t have osteoporosis. Other than the Latin root word, osteo, and the fact that both conditions occur in older people, the two are totally unrelated.
  4. We’re told if we do weight-bearing exercises, we can prevent osteoporosis. You would have to do about 30 minutes of jumping jacks every day to have any appreciable effect on bone density. And if you do that, you will be seeing your local orthopod for all sorts of painful conditions. The benefits are unpredictable and probably don’t outweigh the risks. A little jogging and weightlifting isn’t going to eliminate the need for calcium and vitamin D supplementation. I’m not saying not to exercise. Just don’t depend on it to prevent osteoporosis.
  5. You cannot get enough calcium through diet alone. You would have to eat a wheelbarrow of kale, yogurt and sardines to get even a fraction of the calcium you need to ingest to maintain your bone density.
  6. If you get out in the sun, you will get a sunburn and very little Vitamin D. I think you’d have to sunbathe naked, with no sunscreen for over 30 minutes every day! So… we take vitamin D3 via the pie hole.





  • Donna March 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

    This was a very interesting article to this seventy-something who was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am currently taking medication and believe me, I am cautious about falls.

    • Barbara Bergin, MD April 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I’ll do a blog on fall prevention! Stay tuned.

  • Mamavalveeta03 March 29, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Re: Numbers 5 and 6….Want to give us a hint as to how much we should be taking if we are post-menopausal? It just seems as if the post is a bit truncated!

    • Barbara Bergin, MD April 2, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      No one ever wants to read big long blogs! And of course, doctors have to be a little careful about giving concrete medical advice. If you’re healthy, and all other factors being equal, you should take about 1200 mg of calcium and around 2000-3000 iu of vitamin D. I take 2 tablets of Citracal Slow Release every day. It’s got 1200 mg of Ca and 1000 iu of vitamin D. Then in addition I take an extra tab containing 2000 Vitamin D every day. There are health issues which can influence your absorption and metabolism of these vitamins, so always check with your own doc if you have any questions.

  • Anonymous March 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Thank You for EVERYTHING! Have been hearing HOW important Vit. D is. HOW MUCH we should take? I have been told and have read different amounts!

  • Julie Ercanbrack March 29, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you, Dr. Bergin. I am diagnosed with osteopenia and take a daily medication for it.

  • Cindy April 9, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I am told at my Doc’s office all the time to take Calcium/D…. and I HAVE tried. I as well have tried the Nutrition route. My body has had all it’s life the ability to get Constipated, and that is the biggest drag to my workouts / running life. I would like to know your advice to the hundreds of us who live with chronic constipation- the old advice ” water – exercise- nutrition increase —-will be helpful” advice does not cut it. I am 62 and I workout daily running, elips, walk my 3 dogs…. usually my steps are from 25-30,00 daily… active minutes 130-180 daily. Up my Nutrition to help, Water too! Still my Calicum /D is inadequate, but to increase my intake I will be sidelined to a bulging gut and horrible constipation. Please give me some insights. Thank-you.

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