Your Healthcare Team
Getting treated for osteoporosis can be tricky, because no one kind of healthcare provider specializes in only caring for people with this disease. Many kinds of doctors are qualified to diagnose and treat osteoporosis.
Be sure to find a doctor who knows a lot about the disease and treats a number of patients who have it. If your doctor doesn't have much experience with osteoporosis, he or she may not be totally up to date on the latest testing guidelines or treatment options.
General practitioners, internists, or family physicians and nurse practitioners can all be considered PCPs. Some women also view their gynecologists as PCPs. These providers are seen for routine check ups and diagnostic tests. While many are comfortable providing the full range of osteoporosis-management services, others may refer you to specialists.
Physicians with advanced training in treating the endocrine system, which comprises the glands and hormones that help control the body's metabolic activity. In addition to osteoporosis, endocrinologists treat diabetes and diseases of the thyroid and pituitary glands.
Family doctors or internists who have received additional training on the diseases that often occur among the elderly, like osteoporosis.
Physicians who diagnose and treat conditions of the female reproductive system and associated disorders. They often serve as primary care doctors for women and follow their patients' reproductive health over time.
Doctors trained in the care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions, such as congenital skeletal malformations, bone fractures and infections, and metabolic problems.
Doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and tendons, including arthritis and collagen diseases.
Doctors who evaluate and treat patients with various medical problems, including bone fractures.
Specialists who focus on restoring physical functioning. They also teach patients ways to minimize pain so they can perform the activities of daily living (like getting out of a chair or opening a sticky jar).
Advanced Practice Nurses who can provide high-quality care and treatment to patients. They can diagnose and treat a variety of health problems and inform patients about lifestyle changes that can improve their health.
Health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. They perform a comprehensive range of medical duties, from basic primary care to high-technology specialty procedures.
In addition, there is a growing group of osteoporosis expert physicians who focus exclusively on managing and researching this disorder. Osteoporosis specialists may come from any of the above specialties.
Because osteoporosis is a chronic condition that requires lifelong attention, building the right care team is important.