The Top 3 Traits To Look For In An Osteoporosis Doctor
We get a lot of e-mails from the Save Our Bones community asking if there are any particular doctors we recommend. Many of you are searching for a doctor who will listen to your concerns, won’t push osteoporosis drugs, and who will be supportive of a nutritional, drug-free approach to managing osteoporosis.
Unfortunately, such doctors are hard to find. One of the most tremendous flaws in American medical schools is the lack of nutrition education, so a physician who will discuss diet-based treatment options is a rarity.
Because the Save Our Bones community has a worldwide membership, it’s just not possible to provide every community member with information on doctors in their area.
But what I can do is to give you valuable suggestions and information to help guide you in choosing a physician. So let’s get started!
Knowing What to Look For
Let me warn you: based on the current medical school curriculum, no doctor is going to be perfect.
But as you look for a physician who will be supportive of your bone health choices, it’s important you know what to look for. A good osteoporosis doctor will have some key characteristics. Here are the three most important ones:
1. Caring and Compassionate
Learning to have a personable “bedside manner” and deal compassionately with patients is part of what is sometimes called “the hidden curriculum” in medical schools. It is not, however, an official part of medical education. Rather, it’s something a student can learn from watching an experienced doctor who is caring and compassionate.
A doctor with these traits will listen to your concerns, take time to answer your questions, and not make you feel like you’re “just a number.”
Here are some questions to keep in mind when you evaluate your doctor: Does he make eye contact with you? Does she take your concerns seriously? Do you feel heard and respected?
2. Open-Minded and Inquisitive
Some doctors may not be very open to ideas that he or she did not think of first. As one doctor puts it, “Lots of doctors have big egos.”1 Many of them like to be in control and calling the shots.
An open-minded doctor will not have a condescending attitude about your thoughts, and he or she will be interested in what you’ve got to say about your health. If you’ve really found a good one, he or she will ask you for more information about what you’ve discovered.
Also – and this is very important – an open-minded doctor will not be afraid to admit what he or she doesn’t know.
3. Willing to Learn about Nutrition or Applies Nutritional Principles to Bone Health if He/She is Already Knowledgeable
Here’s the shocking truth: the average doctor just doesn’t know about nutrition. A good osteoporosis doctor will be willing to admit this and will therefore be open to learning about it.
If you are fortunate enough to find a doctor who actually does have an understanding of nutritional approaches to osteoporosis, he or she should not be afraid to implement them.
Why Is It That Doctors Know Practically Nothing About Nutrition?
Given the importance of diet in maintaining and promoting bone health (and overall health as well), it’s shocking how little America’s medical students are taught about nutrition. This trend of ignoring nutrition in medical school shows no sign of stopping. In fact, the sad reality is that it appears to be worsening.
According to a national survey, nutrition education in U.S. medical schools is woefully inadequate and becoming more so. Here are some rather startling (and disappointing) facts:
- Only ¼ of U.S. medical schools require a course dedicated to nutrition.
- In medical schools where nutrition instruction is required, students received less than 20 hours of nutrition instruction.
- The National Academy of the Sciences (NAS) requires a minimum of 25 hours’ instruction (which is still incredibly insufficient) in nutrition. Yet only a little over ¼ of the schools surveyed met even this minimum requirement.
- When compared to data from 2004, the 2010 study shows a notable decline in nutrition education. For example, in 2004 an average of 38% of U.S. medical schools met the 25-hour requirement set by the NAS; between 2008 and 2009, only 27% met the requirement.
According to the survey, “There is little dispute that a patient’s dietary habits can influence chronic disease risk and treatment outcomes. … However, more than half of graduating medical students still rate their nutrition knowledge as ‘inadequate,’ and physicians report that they have not received adequate training to counsel their patients on appropriate nutrition.”2
No wonder doctors give so little (and such poor) advice on nutrition! They simply aren’t educated about it, and most of them are not interested enough to learn on their own.
The Save Our Bones Program is a Sharp Contrast…
…to the medical model. In fact, the Save Our Bones Program revolves around nutrition. Building your bones through diet and exercise is absolutely central to the Program, because there’s no doubt that good nutrition is the central core to build strong bones. The Program includes dozens of scientific references that confirm this approach.
In addition, the Save Our Bones Program addresses the doctor issue in detail. A free report called Doctor Dialogues: How to Talk to Your Doctor about Your Bone Health Alternatives is included as a bonus with your purchase of the Program. It explains why doctors act like they do, and shows you how to have an effective dialogue with your doctor about nutrition-based, drug-free options for your bone health.
Doctor Dialogues is respectful of the medical profession. I understand that medical school and residency are grueling, and doctors have a lot on their shoulders. The purpose of the Dialogues is not to demonize doctors; it’s simply an insightful tool to help you choose the right doctor, and have the best communication with him or her as possible.
Till next time,
1 “Talking to Doctors.” PsychEducation.org http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/doctalk.htm
2 Adams, Kelly M., et al. “Nutrition Education ion the U.S. Medical Schools: Latest Update of a National Survey.” Academic Medicine. September 2010. Vol. 85, Issue 9. Pp. 1537-1542. Web. http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2010/09000/Nutrition_Education_in_U_S__Medical_Schools_.30.aspx