An endocrinologist can help a person with osteoporosis learn about the condition, treatment options, and how to prevent bone fractures.

An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in hormone-related conditions, such as osteoporosis.

If a person visits their primary care doctor about osteoporosis symptoms, the doctor may refer them to an endocrinologist. A referral happens if the doctor believes the underlying cause of osteoporosis may be hormone-related.

This article covers questions to ask an endocrinologist about osteoporosis, including how a person can strengthen their bones and slow disease progression.

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In some cases, a person’s symptoms may not necessarily indicate osteoporosis.

General symptoms of bone disease may include:

Because of this, a person may want to ask an endocrinologist whether there is another possible cause of their symptoms. Other common conditions that could cause some of the above symptoms are:

Osteoporosis is most likely to occur in females after menopause because of the sudden decrease in estrogen, which promotes healthy bone cells. However, males can also get osteoporosis.

Additionally, some hormone-related disorders can trigger osteoporosis, such as:

Additionally, high levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) might link to osteoporosis. This is because high FSH levels indicate menopause or sex hormone deficiency, and menopause contributes to the risk of developing osteoporosis.

After receiving an osteoporosis diagnosis, a person may need additional bone mineral density (BMD) tests to determine whether their treatment is effective or if they are still experiencing bone loss.

How often a person has a BMD test depends on the severity of their bone loss. An endocrinologist can advise how frequently a person needs to undergo BMD testing.

BMD tests use a T-score to report the test results by comparing the person’s bone mass with the bone mass of a typical young adult.

People with typical bone density have a T-score between +1 and -1 (stage 1), whereas a T-score of -2.5 or below can indicate osteoporosis.

A person may want to ask an endocrinologist for more detail on their specific T-score.

A person will likely want to ask an endocrinologist about any treatments available for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis does not have a current cure, but a variety of medications can help protect and strengthen a person’s bones. These medications include:

According to the Royal Osteoporosis Society, people who receive certain osteoporosis drugs should have a treatment review at least once every 5 years. These drugs include:

  • alendronate
  • denosumab
  • ibandronate
  • risedronate
  • zoledronate

These drugs carry a very small risk of rare but serious side effects when used for an extended period.

A person may also ask an endocrinologist about the side effects of specific medications.

Knowing what supplements and nutrients a person with osteoporosis needs can help prevent further bone loss.

An endocrinologist may recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements. These supplements can provide important benefits to the bones. Some people may be able to get sufficient vitamin D through sun exposure.

People can aim to eat a nutritious, balanced diet to promote overall bone health.

A person may wish to ask an endocrinologist whether hormone therapy is a viable treatment option for osteoporosis.

Doctors often recommend hormone replacement therapy with estrogen or with estrogen/progesterone to ease symptoms of menopause, but it can also help prevent bone density loss.

However, hormone replacement therapy may increase the risk of:

An endocrinologist can discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy for a person’s osteoporosis.

An endocrinologist can tell a person which activities are safest for them and their condition. Certain high impact exercises, such as running, can increase a person’s risk of breaking a bone.

Weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises are safe and effective alternatives for building and maintaining bone density.

Other activities, such as yoga or tai chi, may help improve balance, which can lower the risk of injury from falling. Low impact exercises, such as swimming, may also be effective.

An endocrinologist can advise a person on how to prevent fractures.

Depending on the case, they may recommend an assistive device, such as a cane or walker, to help the person stay stable.

The following can also mitigate the risk of bone fractures:

  • installing handrails or stair lifts in the home
  • placing grab bars in the shower
  • wearing supportive shoes
  • removing trip and fall hazards in the home

A person may wish to ask about lifestyle changes and strategies and whether they can help with osteoporosis.

In addition to a nutritious, balanced diet, an endocrinologist may recommend lifestyle strategies, such as regular physical activity. This can help a person maintain strong bones and lower their risk of fractures.

An endocrinologist may also recommend a person use mobility devices to make it easier for them to move around. For example, a stair lift or cane may help minimize a person’s risk of falling and allow for easier movement.

Other questions a person can ask an endocrinologist include:

  • What is my outlook?
  • Are there ways to keep osteoporosis from worsening?
  • How can I change my home, work, and other surroundings to make it easier to live with my condition?
  • How long should I take my medication?
  • What are the side effects and risks of my medication?
  • Do you recommend physical therapy for me?

Receiving an osteoporosis diagnosis can be overwhelming, but keeping an open dialogue with medical professionals can help a person manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications.

People may find it helpful to ask questions about the following:

  • arranging bone density tests
  • preventing osteoporosis from worsening
  • exercising safely
  • osteoporosis treatments
  • reducing the risk of fractures
  • taking supplements