Osteoporosis: Your Healthcare Team

Getting treated for osteoporosis can be tricky, because there is no one specialist; 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 is up to date on the latest testing guidelines or treatment options.

Primary care physician (PCP): 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.

Endocrinologists: 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.

Geriatricians: Family doctors or internists who have received additional training on the diseases that often occur among the elderly, like osteoporosis.

Gynecologists: 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.

Orthopedists: Doctors trained in the care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions, such as congenital skeletal malformations, bone fractures and infections, and metabolic problems.

Rheumatologists: Diagnose and treat diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and tendons, including arthritis and collagen diseases.

Physical and occupational therapists: Evaluate and treat patients with various medical problems, including bone fractures. Physiatrists focus on restoring physical functioning.

Nurse practitioner: An advanced practice nurse 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.

Physician assistant: 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 life-long attention, building the right care team is very important.