Archives of Osteoporosis

, 13:21 | Cite as

Experiences of being diagnosed with osteoporosis: a meta-synthesis

  • M. J. RothmannEmail author
  • P. R. Jakobsen
  • C. M. Jensen
  • A. P. Hermann
  • A. C Smith
  • J. Clemensen



This systematic review provides synthesised knowledge and guidance to health professionals on the experiences and perspectives of being diagnosed with osteoporosis from the patient’s point of view. Using individuals’ experiences and meanings can promote tailored and targeted information and guidance on osteoporosis, bone care and treatment at different stages of the osteoporosis trajectory.


To be diagnosed with osteoporosis with or without fragility fractures affects individuals differently. The aim of this review was firstly to aggregate existing qualitative evidence regarding an individual’s experience of being diagnosed with osteoporosis at different stages, and secondly, to use a systematic approach to develop a conceptual understanding of central issues relevant for health professionals in order to provide support and guidance to patients/individuals.


This study used a systematic review methodology and methods for qualitative synthesis as recommended by Cochrane and integrated the findings of qualitative research from eight databases (Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, SweMed+, PsycINFO, ERIC, Web of Science) to July 2016. Selection and assessment were performed by three authors while four authors were involved in the analysis. Findings were cross-checked with the original article to ensure consistency with the individual’s accounts.


Our findings have revealed that individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis do not perceive osteoporosis as a biomedical trajectory but as a self-perceived continuum of severity and health. To be diagnosed with osteoporosis affects individuals differently depending on, for example, personal experience, pre-conceived notions of or knowledge about the disease, fragility fractures or pain. Hence, individuals will create a meaning of the diagnosis based on self-perceived fracture risk, self-perceived severity of osteoporosis and at the same time, self-perceived health.


This meta-synthesis provides knowledge for health professionals on the experiences and perspectives of being diagnosed with osteoporosis from the patient’s point of view. The experience, meaning and significance of osteoporosis must be taken into consideration and can be used to promote tailored and targeted information and guidance on osteoporosis, bone care and treatment at different stages of the osteoporosis trajectory.


Osteoporosis Systematic review Qualitative research Patient experiences 



The review was supported by the Region of Southern Denmark. The funding agency had no direct role in the conduct of the study, data collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data or the preparation, review, and final approval of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

All authors have completed the authorship and disclosure form. CM Jensen, AC Smith, and J Clemensen have no conflict of interest. PR Jakobsen and MJ Rothmann have received a speaker fee from Eli Lilly. AP Hermann serves on advisory Boards for Eli Lilly, Amgen, and she has received research funding from Eli Lilly, in addition to a speaker fee from Eli Lilly, GSK, Genzyme, Amgen. These disclosed interests are outside the submitted work.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Rothmann
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • P. R. Jakobsen
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • C. M. Jensen
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • A. P. Hermann
    • 1
    • 3
  • A. C Smith
    • 4
    • 6
  • J. Clemensen
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyOdense University HospitalOdense CDenmark
  2. 2.Department of RheumatologyOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  4. 4.Centre for Innovative Medical TechnologyUniversity of Southern Denmark & Odense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and TraumatologyOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  6. 6.Centre for Online HealthUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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