Talking to your Health Care Provider about Treatment

Should you talk to your healthcare provider about bone health?

Everyone should talk to his or her health care provider about bone health. Ask your healthcare provider about correct nutrition, physical activity, ways to quit smoking and other lifestyle choices can help you promote strong bones. If you have had a fracture (broken bone) or you have a high risk for breaking a bone, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment. When necessary, your healthcare provider may recommend a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved osteoporosis medication to help prevent bone loss and reduce your risk of breaking a bone.

Who treats osteoporosis?

It is important that you choose a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable about the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis. An “osteoporosis specialist” is typically an endocrinologist or a rheumatologist, though there are many types of healthcare providers who can diagnosis and treat osteoporosis. Some of these include: primary care providers, geriatricians, gynecologists, physiatrists and internists. To take an active role in managing osteoporosis, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your risk factors for osteoporosis and options for treatment.

How will your healthcare provider decide if you need treatment?

There is no one osteoporosis treatment that is the right choice for everyone. When making a decision about treatment, your healthcare provider will take into consideration many factors such as your age, your medical history (including your history of broken bones as an adult), your family history of osteoporosis or fractures, and the results of your bone density test to help determine what treatment is best for you.

It is important to be prepared for your visit to your healthcare provider. Asking the right questions will empower you to make an informed decision about your treatment. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are my nutrition choices?
  • What type of physical activity should I do?
  • Should I see a physical therapist to learn safe exercises for building bones?
  • If medication in recommended, which medication is best for me and why?
  • Is the cost of medication covered by insurance?
  • What are the risks and side effects of the medication?
  • What side effects should I report to you?
  • How often do I need to take this medication?
  • What time of day should I take the medication?
  • Can I take the medication with food or should I take it on an empty stomach?
  • How does the medication need to be stored?
  • Can this medication interact with my other medications, vitamins, or the foods I eat?
  • How will I know if the medication is working?
  • Should I stop the medication if I have surgery, go on a long car or plane ride? If so, for how long?
  • How long will I need to take this medication?
  • If I stop the medication, what will happen to my bones?