Typically a doctor will diagnose low bone density or a fragility fracture using a combination of resources. Assessments and diagnostic tools available at Doylestown Health’s Osteoporosis and Bone Health Program include:
Early intervention for osteoporosis is the most effective way to reduce bone loss and prevent fractures. However, treatment programs after a fracture are also valuable and may help to prevent future fractures. Doylestown Health’s Osteoporosis and Bone Health Program offers a full range of treatment options to improve bone health and repair fragility fractures. Treatment plans are personalized based on the individual’s unique needs and may include:
Physical Therapy: Like muscles, bones need exercise to stay strong. Doctors believe that a program of moderate, regular exercise (3 to 4 times per week) is effective for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, hiking, climbing stairs, dancing, treadmill exercises and weight lifting are best. Licensed physical therapists from Doylestown Health Rehabilitation Therapy meet with each patient to establish a personalized plan of care built around their bone health needs and goals.
Medications: Medications offer patients with osteoporosis an opportunity to not only increase bone mass, but also to significantly reduce fracture risk. Medications a physician may prescribe for a patient with low bone density or a fragility fracture may include:
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators: New anti-estrogens known as SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) can increase bone mass, decrease the risk of spine fractures, and lower the risk of breast cancer.
Calcitonin: Calcitonin is another medication used to decrease bone loss. A nasal spray form of this medication increases bone mass, limits spine fractures, and may offer some pain relief.
Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonates, including alendronate, markedly increase bone mass and prevent both spine and hip fractures.
Surgical Repair: Individuals who suffer from a fragility fracture will most likely require surgical treatment. Most surgical approaches require the surgeon to repair the break with an artificial screw or nail. In some cases, components of the bone or joint may need to be replaced. Doylestown Health’s Orthopedic Institute includes expert physicians with a depth of expertise in the surgical repair of fragility fractures of the hip, spine, wrist, arm or leg.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy: Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is often recommended for women at high risk for osteoporosis to prevent bone loss and reduce fracture risk. A measurement of bone density when menopause begins may help you decide whether ERT is right for you. Hormones also prevent heart disease and improve cognitive functioning. ERT is not without some risk, including enhanced risk of breast cancer. The risks and benefits of ERT should be discussed with your doctor.
Nutrition Counseling: To prevent osteoporosis, slow its progression and prevent fractures, men and women should include adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D in their diets. Doylestown Health Nutrition Counseling offers therapeutic nutrition plans for patients specifically tailored to their bone health needs. Patients have convenient access to nutrition counseling services right where they see their specialty care physicians.