Latina Health Project

About Osteoporosis

Questions for Your Doctor

Do I need a bone density test?

What is my T-score? - Your doctor may not think you can understand your T-score, but he or she should be willing to tell you your score. Asking this question ensures that the doctor did the proper bone density test and shows you are interested in your diagnosis and treatment.

How fast will my osteoporosis progress/get worse?

Is it worth getting additional bone density tests from other parts of the body?

Most of the time the doctor will say "no", but ask him anyway.

Can I go another couple years before starting medication? - Remember, once you start medication, you will probably be on it for life.

What are the different infusion and oral medication methods? - You may prefer one over the others. Most likely, you will not know which you prefer until you try them.

How expensive are these treatments?

Your concern probably varies with your insurance plan. Bisphosphonate drugs are available in generic form, so they tend to be inexpensive. Drugs like teriparatide are very expensive. Infusion treatment tends to be expensive because you take up space in the clinic or doctor's office for a few hours and need attention from a nurse.

What kind of side effects can I expect?

How often do I have to come back for follow-ups?

Should I or can I occasionally take a “drug holiday” during which I stop taking the medicine for a while? – There is increasing evidence that is a good idea. Scientists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine questioned whether even people at a high risk for fractures might be better off discontinuing the drugs after a while. Your doctor will want to work with you on this.


Be sure to mention to the doctor any falls you have had recently, even one that didn't hurt you. Also make sure the doctor knows about every medication you take, both prescription and otherwise. And because vision is so critical to falls, see about getting your vision checked and, if you use glasses, your prescription up to date.