We're a comprehensive, multidisciplinary center that specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases. Our mission is to provide individualized treatment and preventive regimens, both medical and non-medical, to women and men who have had a fracture or are at risk of bone loss and fracture.
In addition to osteoporosis, the Center can help individuals with other bone health issues and metabolic bone diseases, such as Paget’s disease, renal bone disease, osteomalacia (rickets), parathyroid disorders or genetic disorders such as osteogenesis imperfecta.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, also known as the “silent disease,” causes bones to become weaker. With this comes a greater likelihood that bones break (fracture), which can result in disability, and increase the risk of death. Until a fracture occurs, there are usually no warning signs. Recent estimates show that over 50% of Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass. About one in two women and up to one in four men over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, most likely in the hip, spine or wrist. Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, especially with age.
Osteoporosis can cause permanent pain and also loss of height. When osteoporosis affects the vertebrae, it often leads to a stooped or hunched posture. Alarmingly, 20% of seniors who break a hip die within one year from either complications related to the broken bone itself or the surgery to repair it. Fortunately, if bone loss is identified before it causes a debilitating fracture, it can often be slowed, and the risk of a fracture can be lowered.
What is Osteopenia?
This means bone mass or bone mineral density is lower than normal, but not yet low enough to be considered osteoporosis. A person in this category may benefit from taking an osteoporosis medication depending on their risk factors for osteoporosis and fractures.
Stamford Health is a member of the
National Osteoporosis Foundation's Professional Partners Network®.
Risk factors for osteoporosis
Ask yourself the following questions. If any of them apply, you could be at risk for both osteoporosis and fracture.
- Are you a woman post menopause, or older than 65?
- Have you had your ovaries removed?
- Are you a man older than 70?
- Are you underweight for your height?
- Have you taken steroids (prednisone, cortisone, etc.) for more than three months?
- Do you have chronic kidney, liver, intestinal or lung disease?
- Do you have a history of endocrine disorders (thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, parathyroid, ovary or testes)?
- Do you have rheumatoid arthritis?
- Have you had fracture (without trauma) at age 40 or above?
- Have you lost more than 1.5 inches of height?
- Do you now smoke cigarettes, or have a long history of smoking, even if you have quit?
- Do you drink, on average, more than 2 drinks of alcohol per day?
- Do you have a family history of fractures related to osteoporosis, like a relative with a hip, spine or wrist fracture?
- Do you have low calcium intake?
- Do you have a generally sedentary lifestyle?
- Do you have a medical condition that has caused immobility for six months or more?
- Are you taking any medications that could cause bone loss (for example, antacids for gastroesophageal reflux; aromatase inhibitors; some chemotherapies; and certain diabetes and anti-seizure medications)?
How is bone loss or osteoporosis diagnosed?
Unfortunately, osteoporosis is usually symptom-free until a fracture occurs. There are several diagnostic tools that are used to detect risk:
- If you are at risk, the bone mineral density test (BMD), or DEXA, is a quick, very low-dose x-ray examination of the hips, spine, and forearm. This test evaluates your individual bone density to determine whether the amount of bone mineral you have is normal or low.
- Our team of team of doctors specializing in bone loss will use these results, as well as your personal and family history, to guide further testing. Depending on your set of circumstances, we may include a blood test or Vertebral Fracture Assessment.
Using all of these tools, we will assess your individual risk of fracture and determine if treatment is necessary. Even if treatment is not indicated, we will provide you with tools for prevention and continued monitoring of your bone health.
Is osteoporosis preventable and treatable?
Although there is no "cure’" for osteoporosis and some bone loss with aging is expected, there are steps you can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress, and most importantly, prevent fractures.
In some cases, you may even be able to improve bone density and reverse at least some of the bone loss. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D are essential to bone health. There are also medications that can reduce the risk of broken bones. These medicines either (1) slow or stop bone loss or (2) rebuild bone. Our endocrinologists customize an individualized treatment plan that might include non-medical therapies (for example, diet and fitness) as well as medical therapies for individuals that would benefit. We offer all FDA approved medications in our office, including Reclast® (zoledronic acid), an annual treatment for prevention of fractures, Prolia® and Forteo®.
- An individualized supplementation regimen based on your medical history and laboratory values.
- Working on fall reduction strategies.
- We may recommend physical and occupational therapy along with walking aids and other assistive devices.
- Weight-bearing (working your muscles and bones against gravity), muscle-strengthening exercise and balance training.
- If you don’t need medical therapies at your initial evaluation, we’ll re-evaluate your situation when appropriate.
- If you take medications for bone health, we recommend periodic lab and bone density testing.
- If your symptoms change, we may test your bone health more frequently. Changes we look for include progressive height loss, new back pain, differences in your posture or new findings on x-ray or laboratory tests.
- As part of our commitment to your bone health, we believe in a regular (annual) assessment of how you are doing with the recommended therapies and treatments.