Talking to your Health Care Provider about Diagnosis

Should you talk to your healthcare provider about osteoporosis diagnosis?

Bone health is a lifelong commitment. Everyone should talk to his or her health care provider about bone health. Risk assessment is the first step in taking an active role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis. To find out about your personal risk for osteoporosis, you can use the NYSOPEP Osteoporosis Risk Assessment tool that is right for you. (Risk Assessment for Premenopausal Women, Risk Assessment for Postmenopausal Women, Risk Assessment for Men)

Who diagnoses osteoporosis?

It is important that you choose a health care 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 health care providers who can diagnose 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 health care provider to discuss your risk factors for osteoporosis and when it is the right time to get a bone mineral density test (BMD test)

How will your health care provider diagnose osteoporosis?

A comprehensive assessment to make the diagnosis for osteoporosis includes many steps, such as a physical exam, personal and family medical history, lab tests, standardized yearly height measurements, calcium & vitamin D assessment, and a bone mineral density (BMD) test when indicated.

It is important to be prepared for your visit to your health care provider. Asking the right questions will empower you to make informed decisions about your bone health. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What is my personal risk for osteoporosis?
  • When is the right time for me to get a BMD test?
  • Is the BMD test covered by insurance?
  • Is a BMD test painful?
  • How do I prepare for a BMD test?
  • How will I understand my test results?
  • How often will I have to go for a BMD test?