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What Is Secondary Prevention of Osteoporosis?


In the public health world, there are three types of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary prevention is keeping the disease of osteoporosis from getting started. The steps for primary prevention of osteoporosis are 1) getting enough calcium in your diet, 2) including vitamin D in your regime and 3) doing weight-bearing exercise.

Secondary Prevention

Secondary prevention deals with the early onset of a negative health outcome. In other words, you have the disease and want to prevent something bad from happening as a result. In the case of osteoporosis, the “bad” or negative health outcome is a fracture.

Many people refer to osteoporosis as the “silent thief” because oftentimes people are not aware that they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. Once an individual breaks a bone without significant trauma, they are at high risk of another fracture. 

So how would you implement secondary prevention of osteoporosis? Get a bone density test! Currently, this is the only way that you can determine that you have osteoporosis prior to breaking a bone. If you are a woman over age 65 or a man over age 70, Medicare covers a bone density test every two years. If you are younger and have a risk factor for osteoporosis, you can also get a bone density test.

A great way to find out about factors that could put you at risk for a fracture is to go to the ABH Fracture Risk Calculator™.   

 In addition to getting diagnosed, you definitely want to continue your intake of calcium and vitamin D and keep exercising!

Posted: 12/5/2016; Revised: 02/19/20. 
As a service to our readers, American Bone Health provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician

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The American Bone Health Fracture Risk Calculator™ estimates fracture risk for women and men over age 45.

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What to know about bone health
and fracture prevention during COVID-19

  • Remove fall dangers in your home.
  • Stay physically active, and at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Eat for proper nutrition, and take a supplement if needed to get enough calcium and vitamin D.
  • Stick with your osteoporosis medicines and ask your doctor for extra if you’re unable to go to the pharmacy.
  • If you are due for Reclast, there is little concern about delaying for a few weeks or months.
  • If you take Prolia or Evenity injections, don’t miss your appointment.  Some facilities offer “drive-through” injections. Check with your doctor.
  • Bone density testing can be postponed, if necessary.
  • Speak with your doctor about the possibility of telephone and video visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a page with steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching the virus if you have a chronic illness.

Be well. We are here for you if you have any questions.