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The Palliser Primary Care Network supports two Family Medicine Maternity Clinics, one in Medicine Hat and one in Brooks.

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November is Osteoporosis Awareness Month

Coined the silent thief because bone loss often occurs without symptoms, osteoporosis is also referred to as the "paediatric disease" with "geriatric consequences."

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by:

  • Low bone mass
  • Bone deterioration

Did you know:

  • Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined
  • The loss and deterioration of bone increases fragility, impacting the risk for fractures
  • Most common fractures are to the hip, spine, wrist and shoulder
  • Peak bone mass is achieved at 16 to 20 years of age for females; 20 to 25 for males
  • In our mid-30s we begin to lose bone mass
  • Nutrition and exercise in our youth support our bones for life
  • It is never too late to begin or maintain healthy lifestyle choices to reduce risks
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting bones; the body requires it to absorb calcium

Risk factors include:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Family history of osteoporotic fracture
  • Early onset menopause (before age 45)
  • Low calcium intake
  • Excessive caffeine intake (more than 4 cups/day)
  • Excessive alcohol intake (more than 2 drinks/day)
  • Smoking
  • Low bone mineral density
  • Certain drugs and inflammatory diseases


  • Builds muscle, prevents falls, protects the spine, improves balance and slows the rate of bone loss
  • Increases strength, energy levels, stamina and mental health


  • The daily calcium requirement is 1000-1200mg; preferably from a dietary source
  • Supplements should be in the form of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate
  • Every cell in our body requires calcium in order to function normally
  • Inadequate calcium in our diet results in the release of calcium from our skeleton in order to meet daily requirements
  • Children need Vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy
  • Talk with a health care professional regarding calcium and vitamin D intake; too much of a good thing may have unwarranted consequences

Those diagnosed with Osteoporosis and who are at increased risk for fractures may require medication -- in addition to calcium and Vitamin D intake -- in order to reduce risk for fractures. For more information, visit

Submitted by Cathy Frey, a Registered Nurse at Meiring & Kriel Family Practice in Medicine Hat, AB.

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 Personal Directives Video

Palliser PCN's Registered Nurse, Aurora Cyganik-Barker, explains the Importance of having a Personal Directive. Watch Video

 News & Events

December 10, 2015
Presenter for this workshop is Dr. Sheldon Tobe, staff nephrologist at Sunnybrook and associate professor of medicine at the U of T.
Dr. Tobe served as chair of Sunnybrook's department of medicine research committee for 5 years; in 2006 he created an ambulatory course in hypertension and global cardiovascular risk for postgraduate medical trainees.
February 5, 2016
Please join us for a workshop that will provide you with updates in COPD; how to perform spirometry; smoking cessation; and a review of diagnoses and treatment for sleep apnea as well as other common sleep disorders.  This day of learning will be led by a team of respirologists and registered respiratory therapists.
Primary Care Initiative Government of Alberta Alberta Health Services Alberta Medical Association