by Julia Brock,CVRT, VisionAware Correspondent

Joanne Martin standing

Julia Brock (JB): Thanks so much for agreeing to talk to us about your experience with osteoporosis. How did you learn that you had osteoporosis?

Joanne Martin (JM): I always felt like I had it because my bones were in such bad shape. Because I was younger than the typical patient with osteoporosis I couldn’t get the doctor to test for it. So I volunteered for a study at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). They tested me and discovered that I already had severe osteoporosis.

JB: I understand that you were young at the time you were diagnosed with osteoporosis. Did your age continue to make it difficult to get the diagnosis?

JM: After I volunteered for the study at UAB they said that I was probably too young but they tested me anyhow. Before that I had difficulty getting my doctor to even consider it. My doctor did not want to test me at all.

JB: How old were you when this began to happen?

JM: Early fifties I think. I was finally tested when I was about fifty- two or fifty- three.

JB: Had you experienced broken bones previous to that age?

JM: I had already had three broken bones. Actually I broke my hip while in college and my toe. Well, I guess I had only had two broken bones at that time and later had a broken neck due to a fall. So my third broken bone was after I was diagnosed.

JB: Did your doctor think that the two broken bones in college, the hip and the toe, were at least partly attributable to the osteoporosis?

JM: Nobody ever said that they were.

JB: What precautions have you been advised to take due to the diagnosis of osteoporosis?

JM: I’ve taken various medications over time. I took one medication for about ten years. And later I was taken off all medications. Of course, my doctor recommended that I exercise, weight bearing exercised such as lifting weights and walking.

JB: Are you currently receiving medication? You mentioned that you were taken off of the medication after about ten years of therapy.

JM: I have started taking medication by injection which only needs to be administered every six months.

JB: Are your activities restricted in any way now that you have received treatment for osteoporosis?

JM: I was told not to lift anything over ten pounds. Also, I was told not to reach above my shoulders. I think these activities must put too much strain on my bones.

JB: What advice do you have for others regarding osteoporosis?

JM: Get treatment! If your doctor does not seem to listen to your concerns that you may have osteoporosis, I recommend seeking help at a major medical center or medical school. They are probably on the cutting edge of new developments in the field and have available the newest and most effective treatment. Don’t give up finding help. Your bones are too important to an active, enjoyable life.