Young People Get Osteoporosis Too 

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According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, it has been a problem for many individuals to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about osteoporosis. There is no physician specialty dedicated to osteoporosis, nor is there a certification program for health professionals who treat the disease. Therefore, a variety of medical specialists are treating people with osteoporosis, including internists, gynecologists, family physicians, endocrinologists, rheumatologists, physiatrists and orthopedists.

There are a number of ways to find a doctor who treats osteoporosis patients. If you have a primary care physician or a family doctor, discuss your concerns with him or her. Your doctor may be able to refer you to an osteoporosis specialist.

If you are enrolled in an HMO or managed care health plan, consult your assigned physician about osteoporosis. This doctor should be able to give you an appropriate referral.

If you do not have a personal physician or your doctor cannot help you, you may contact your nearest university hospital or  health center and ask for the department that cares for patients with osteoporosis. The department will vary from institution to institution. For example, in some facilities, the department of endocrinology or metabolic bone disease treats osteoporosis patients. In other medical centers, the appropriate department may be rheumatology, orthopedics, or gynecology. Some hospitals have a separate osteoporosis program or women's clinic that treats osteoporosis patients.

You can also find a doctor by using the  NOF Patient Info - How to Find a Doctor   

The Doctor-Patient Partnership

Good communication is the key to a successful doctor-patient relationship.  Communication is important because it makes it easier for your doctor to properly diagnose and treat your condition.

Additionally, by discussing your health concerns with your doctor, you will find you are more satisfied with your care.

Remember:  There are no "stupid" questions when it comes to your health.

In the Doctor's Office

  • remind the nurse that you requested some extra time to discuss osteoporosis

  • be sure to mention any medications that you are currently taking, including vitamin supplements

  • ask questions from your list

  • ask the doctor to explain any medical terms you do not understand

  • take notes

Review the following 'Questions To Ask' about osteoporosis so you're prepared to discuss this important health issue with your health care professional.

  • Am I at risk for osteoporosis? Will I be at-risk as I get older?
  • What symptoms should I look for?
  • How can I limit my risk and prevent osteoporosis?
  • Am I taking any medicines that could put me at higher risk for developing osteoporosis?
  • What tests should I have to determine if I have bone loss or osteoporosis?
  • What medications are available to treat or prevent osteoporosis? What are their benefits and side effects? Will these drugs interact with any other medications that I am taking?
  • Are there any other things I can do, besides taking medication, to reduce my risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture?
  • How do I know if I have fractured a bone in my spine?
  • What kinds of exercise are best for me, and how often should I exercise?
  • How much calcium should I get from my diet? Should I take calcium supplements?
  • How do vitamin D and milk help me get enough calcium in my system? What should I do to make sure I'm getting enough vitamin D and dairy products daily?

Tip:  If you are unclear about any of the information the doctor has given you, repeat it to him/her to see if your understanding is correct.

Following Your Visit:

  • Review your notes.  If you still have questions, call your doctor's office for further explanation.

  • Follow the doctor's orders.  Prevention or treatment programs prescribed by your doctor will only be successful if you follow them carefully.

  • If medication was prescribed, keep a daily log of when you take it and how you feel.  The doctor will want to know about any side effects that you experience.

Here are some other sample questions that you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How can I strengthen my bones?

  • What type of exercise is best?

  • How much calcium do I need and what are the best sources of calcium?

  • How can smoking and drinking alcohol affect my bone health?

  • Do any of the medications I take affect my bone health?

  • What safety measures can I take to prevent myself from falling?

  • When should I come in for a follow-up exam?

  • How often should I have my bone mass measured?

When to call your doctor:

Call your health professional immediately if:

  • You think you have a broken bone, you notice swelling, or you cannot move a part of your body.
  • You have sudden, severe pain when bearing weight on a part of your body.
  • You notice that one of your arms or legs is abnormally shaped. This may mean that you have a broken bone.

Young People Get Osteoporosis Too Organization
Copyright 2001  All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/11/08.

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