Monday, August 21, 2017

Choosing a specialist

Many different medical specialties are available where practitioners
may choose to treat patients with osteoporosis. Your primary doctor
can help you decide which one of the following is best for you:

Rheumatologists: Rheumatologists (your co-author Dr.
O’Connor is one) diagnose and treat diseases of the bones,
joints, and muscles, including autoimmune diseases such as
120 Part III: Diagnosing and Treating Osteoporosis
lupus. Rheumatology is a subspecialty of internal medicine
and requires board certification in both internal medicine and
rheumatology.

Endocrinologists: Endocrinologists treat diseases of the endocrine
system, which is certainly no surprise. The endocrine
system comprises the glands and hormones that control your
body’s metabolic activity. Endocrinologists treat diabetes, thyroid
problems, and pituitary diseases. Endocrinology, like
rheumatology, is a subspecialty of internal medicine.

Endocrinologists may be especially interested in osteoporosis
because endocrine problems often result in osteoporosis.
Refer to Chapter 3 for a complete discussion of risk factors.

Geriatricians: Geriatricians treat geriatric patients (also
known as senior citizens). When are you in this category?
Although most people would say “never,” the accepted definition
of “geriatric” is age 65 and above.

Because osteoporosis is often, but not always, a disease of
aging, many geriatricians have a special interest in treating it.

Gynecologists: Because women comprise the largest group of
osteoporosis patients, many gynecologists, doctors who treat
women’s health, also treat patients with osteoporosis. If
you’re a man with osteoporosis, though, you may feel a little
funny sitting in the waiting room.

Orthopedic surgeons: Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the
treatment of bones and muscles. Some are interested in treating
osteoporosis, while some aren’t.

Physiatrists: Physiatrists are often confused with everything
from psychologists to podiatrists! Physiatrists specialize in
physical medicine and rehabilitation, dealing with acute
injuries as well as chronic conditions such as arthritis and
osteoporosis.

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