Osteoporosis is a disease that results in weakened bones and is often called the “silent disease” because it does not produce any symptoms until a fracture occurs.
Osteoporosis can affect anyone. Forty percent of women over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime and, in men over 80 years of age, hip fractures are just as common as they are in women.
At St. Clair Hospital Osteoporosis Services, bone health is our main priority. We offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary care focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with osteoporosis. Our physicians balance the most-advanced bone density technology with a personal, caring approach to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care possible.
Osteoporosis Services offers bone density screening, bone density exams (DEXA), and physician consultations for patients with osteoporosis. Education and counseling are also available to help at-risk individuals prevent or slow the disease.
Osteoporosis Services is conveniently located at the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center at Village Square, 2000 Oxford Drive, Bethel Park. To schedule a DEXA exam, please call 412.942.8150; 412.942.7727 for all other calls.
How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
One of the simplest means for our physicians to diagnose osteoporosis is through a bone mineral density (BMD) exam using a quick, safe procedure called a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry, or DEXA, exam.
The DEXA Evaluation
The DEXA exam is easy, painless, takes only 15-20 minutes to complete, and does not involve any special preparations shots, needles, enemas or medication.
Other information about DEXA:
- DEXA uses a very weak form of x-ray to rapidly scan bones at various parts of the body, such as the spine and hip.
- A computer converts this information to numbers indicating bone density.
- Patients are not required to remove any clothes but should wear comfortable clothing, such as a tee-shirt and sweatpants. Metal objects such as zippers, snaps, jewelry, buttons or buckles should not be worn.
- For at-risk patients, most insurance carriers – including Medicare – cover the DEXA exam.
St. Clair Hospital Osteoporosis Services operates under the medical direction of specialists in the treatment of osteoporosis and rheumatology.
Our endocrinologists – physicians specializing in metabolic diseases – are also available to provide information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Primary care physicians, orthopedic physicians and gynecologists are also valuable sources of information.
The DEXA exam is administered by bone density technicians who are certified by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry and are supervised by the physicians.
Major Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
- Women 65 years or older
- Women who went through menopause before age 45
- Caucasian or Asian, but African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans also have a significant risk
- Low body weight (under 127 pounds)
- Family history of osteoporosis or bone fractures
- Men who take some hormonal treatments for prostate cancer
- Women who take some medications for breast cancer
- Excessive alcohol use
- Inactive lifestyle
- Diet low in calcium
- Persons taking medications such as steroids, thyroid hormones, anti-seizure drugs, antacids that contain aluminum, heparin, and certain cancer-treatment medications
How can I improve my bone health?
- Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Ask your doctor if weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises are right for you. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess
- Talk with your doctor about your bone health
- Ask your doctor if and when a bone density test is right for you. You can schedule a DEXA exam by calling 412.942.8150.