Skip to main content

Osteoporosis Diagnosis and Treatment

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Bone is a living tissue made up of cells. If the old cells die off faster than they can be replaced, the bone eventually loses density and becomes brittle. The bone eventually becomes so fragile that even a mild stress, like coughing or bending over, can cause a fracture. Most fractures associated with osteoporosis occur in the hip, spine or wrist.

Diagnostic Tests

There are several diagnostic tests used to identify osteoporosis. All of them measure bone mineral density (BMD) or the amount of minerals in bones. As people age, their bones lose the calcium and other minerals they need to stay strong.

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA is the most common method of measuring BMD, and it is also the most accurate. In it, two different X-ray beams are used to estimate the bone density in the spine and hip. The doctor compares the amounts of each X-ray beam blocked by bones and soft tissue to each other. Dense, strong bones allow less of the beam to pass through them. DEXA is fast, accurate and uses little radiation.

Peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (P-DEXA) is a variant of DEXA used to measure BMD in the arms or legs. The machines are portable and can be used in a doctor’s office. Dual photon absorptiometry or DPA uses a radioactive substance to measure bone density. It can measure BMD in the hip and spine, but is slower than the other methods.


There is a range of treatments for osteoporosis including medications, exercise and lifestyle changes, and dietary supplements.

Strontium, which is chemically similar to calcium, is a supplement used to treat osteoporosis. It is most commonly found in seafood, but it can also be located in root vegetables, poultry, whole milk, and wheat bran. Strontium is believed to promote the growth of new bone while slowing down the breakdown of old bone.

A good exercise program can strengthen bones and muscles. It also improves balance and coordination and thus reduces the likelihood of falling. Useful exercises include weight-bearing exercises like walking and muscle-strengthening exercises like weight lifting.

Fosomax, Boniva, Binosto, and Actonel are medicines that slow bone loss by inhibiting the cells that break down bone. They have to be used carefully, for they can damage the esophagus. Boniva is taken once a month while the other three are taken weekly. Medications used for menopausal hormone replacement therapy can also be used to treat osteoporosis. Such drugs retard bone loss and prevent fractures.

Forteo is a synthetic form of a parathyroid hormone. It has the distinction of being the first drug that stimulates new bone growth and can increase bone density. Patients take it as an injection that can be effective for as long as 24 months. Side effects associated with Forteo include dizziness, leg cramps, and nausea.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you are worried about bone density loss or osteoporosis, our medical team at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati can help. We offer DEXA testing to help diagnose bone loss. We can then provide customized treatment options for our patients depending on their specific needs. Contact Associates in Women’s Health today to schedule a consultation.

Associates in Women's Health

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Chronic Vaginal Dryness

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Chronic Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can be a natural part of aging, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Safe, effective treatments can reduce today’s symptoms and prevent other symptoms from developing in the future.
5 Practical Ways to Maintain Your Bone Health

5 Practical Ways to Maintain Your Bone Health

As you age, your bones may lose density and become thinner. By taking some important steps, though, you can make changes that help maintain bone mass and protect you from osteoporosis and bone breaks.
Why Older Women Are at Risk for Recurrent UTIs

Why Older Women Are at Risk for Recurrent UTIs

Older women not only have a greater chance of developing a UTI, but they are also more likely than younger women to have recurrent UTIs. Learn about why this happens, and what you can do to protect yourself.
The Role of the Thyroid in Women's Health

The Role of the Thyroid in Women's Health

Although it’s a tiny organ, your thyroid can have an oversized impact on your health. Learn about some of the ways that a thyroid disorder could affect you, your periods, your fertility, and your quality of life.