You a Savvy Patient?
Do you get written copies
or digital files of your medical reports?
Do you research drugs and herbal products before you take them?
Do you look for competent medical professionals who provide preventative
information and explain the results of your tests?
youíre a savvy patient you do.
Savvy patients realize that they need sound professional advice. They also
realize that they can get better care when theyíre able to provide
professionals with specific health information about themselves. Thatís
one reason why they get copies of their bone density reports.
This allows them to pass along information about their bones to
orthopedists, endocrinologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, yoga
teachers, personal trainers, etc. If a competent trainer or
physical therapist knows the weakest areas of oneís spine or hip, they
can better determine which exercises will be most beneficial. In addition,
patients are more motivated to follow the advice when they see their
medical data on paper and understand why they should take
to Be a Savvy Patient
If you want to avoid osteoporosis, you should learn about the disease and
ways to help prevent it. You should also have some knowledge about bone
density exams before youíre tested. This will better enable you to
select a competent testing center that offers comprehensive reports.
Besides getting a copy of the bone density report, you should seek
professional guidance in understanding your test results.
Obtaining information about bone density testing is sometimes difficult.
Few patients who undergo DXA tests know the significance of their
numerical results. Seldom do they receive a copy of their bone density
report. Reading Osteoporosis Prevention is a good a way to start
learning about osteoporosis and bone density testing. However, itís also
helpful to read health magazines, journals and other books and
If youíd like to have a bone density test of your spine and hip:
out if your insurance company or government medical plan will pay for the
test. If they do, ask if a referral from your primary physician is
necessary and if there are any other requirements for reimbursement. Even
if your insurance or government plan pays for the bone density exam, a
referral may not be needed if you are tested by a doctor. Find out
beforehand. If your insurance wonít pay for a DXA test
and you think it would be helpful, donít hesitate to pay for it
yourself. Iíve paid for mine and I'm glad I did.
sure the test center provides thorough reports that include the
densities and T-scores of different areas of the hip and each of the
lumbar vertebrae that are tested. This website provides examples of
different types of bone density reports. See sample
Schedule an appointment for a bone density test about a month or so before
your annual physical or other doctor's appointment, if possible. That way youíll be able to get the
report in time to discuss the results face-to-face with your regular
doctor. Ask the center when the report will be ready. Some centers have
the results ready the same day; others may take as long as a month to
complete the report.
Review bone density terminology before the exam so that your discussion with
the doctor or technologist at the center will be more meaningful. For
example, reread Chapter 4, "Basic Bone Terminology" and Chapters
13 and 14 on bone density reports and testing in Osteoporosis
If the center doesnít offer to show you the images of your hip and spine
on the monitor, ask to see them. Itís helpful to visually see your
areas of high and low densities. One advantage of being tested by an
osteoporosis specialist is that he or she can explain the images and give
you information that you canít get from a book or from a general
physician who hasnít studied bone densitometry.
Find out when the written report will be completed, and ask for two copies
of itóone for your regular doctor and one for yourself. The two reports
should be originals from the densitometer so the images of your spine and
hip are as clear as possible. Some test centers are able to give you the
report at the time of the test or a CD file of the results. Now that
reimbursements for bone density tests or so low, you may have to pay for
the disc or report copy. Some test centers may be able to e-mail you the
Study the report before you see your general physician. After you read it,
you may have questions that were not answered at the test center. Take the
report with you to your doctor so you can make notes on it.
down any questions you may have in the order of their importance.
Otherwise you may forget some of them, or you may waste valuable time on
unimportant matters during your appointment. Time will be limited
If you have osteoporosis, get a referral to a physical therapist with a
specialty in osteoporosis from your regular doctor (or the
osteoporosis specialist if you saw one). Proper exercise is one of the
most important means of treatment and prevention, but some exercises are
better and safer than others. Youíll need to do more than walk. Physical
therapy is typically covered by insurance and government medical plans,
but check first to see if itís included in your plan. You or your doctor
may have to do some research to find a therapist who has been trained to
treat osteoporosis patients, but itís worth it to locate one.
In general, take responsibility for your health instead of expecting the
medical profession to be entirely in charge of your health care.
more information consult:
Prevention: A Proactive Approach to Strong Bones & Good Health
Webpages with sample reports:
DXA Bone Density Report
GE DXA Body Composition Report
Hologic DXA Bone Density Report
Hologic DXA Body Composition Report
Spine TBS Report
Mindways QTC Bone Density Report
General Sample Reports Web Page
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2006 and 2014 by Renťe Newman