What to Expect from Your Physician Specialist

  • Your doctor should take time to discuss your diagnosis with you. He or she should share and explain the results of your DEXA scan and discuss possible reasons for your low bone mineral density.
  • Make sure he or she explains any limitations you may have based on your diagnosis. For example, if you have osteoporosis in your spine, you should not lift more than 20 pounds at one time.
  • Your doctor should discuss whether you would benefit from physical therapy, which can help prevent fractures by improving strength, balance, and posture.
  • You should learn how much calcium and vitamin D you need. Your doctor or a patient educator should spend time with you figuring how much calcium you get from your diet and how much you need from supplements.
  • Together you and your doctor should develop a treatment plan that includes diet, supplements, exercise, and, if indicated, medications.
  • Your doctor should explain the different types of osteoporosis medications along with their pros and cons. He or she should help you decide which medication is best for you.
  • Follow-up care is crucial. Your doctor should ask you to come back to discuss your progress, results from your laboratory tests, and any questions you might have. You should get regular DEXA scans (every one to two years) to track your progress. If you are not progressing (increasing your bone density), then your physician should try to figure out why and help you make appropriate changes in your treatment plan.