Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

Your Partner in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

Osteoporosis affects more than 28 million americans

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that directly affects more than 10 million Americans with another 18 million at risk of developing the disease. The prevalence of osteoporotic fractures is greater than breast cancer, stroke, heart failure and heart attacks combined.

What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones where either too little bone is made or too much bone is lost, which causes bones to become brittle. People with osteoporosis have a high risk for fractures of their hip, wrist or spine. They are also at increased risk to lose height and develop a stooped posture. Although women are most affected by the disease, 20 percent of patients with osteoporosis are men.

What is osteopenia?
Osteopenia and osteoporosis are related diseases. Both are varying degrees of bone loss, as measured by how strong a bone is and the risk that it might break. Osteopenia affects about half of Americans over age 50 and is considered by many doctors to be a precursor to osteoporosis. However, not everyone diagnosed with osteopenia will develop osteoporosis.


Medications: A variety of medications can slow bone loss or even help stimulate bone formation and improve bone density.Talk with your physician about which medications might be right for you.

Nutrition: Eat calcium-rich foods and avoid phosphorus-rich foods. Daily intake should be 1,000 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D. Also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.

Exercise: Multiple types of exercise can help promote bone growth and decrease risk for fracture, such as weight-bearing, balance, postural, strengthening exercises and more. An experienced therapy specialist can develop a personalized exercise plan to help promote bone growth and prevent injury.

Advanced Bone Density Testing

University Hospitals St. John Medical Center uses the painless, non-invasive DXA bone mineral density testing to diagnose bone thinning. The DXA test takes scans of the lower back, hip or forearm to measure the amount of calcium (density) in bones. Testing does require a prescription, so please contact your physician first. To schedule a bone mineral density test, call us at 440-827-5668.

Who Should Get a Bone Mineral Density Test?

  • Women 65 and older; men 70 and older
  • Postmenopausal women and men with risk factors for fracture
  • Women in menopause who have low body weight, prior fracture or use high-risk medications
  • Anyone who has had a fragility fracture, or has had a disease or is taking medication associated with low bone mass or bone loss

Diseases Associated with Bone Loss

There are a number of diseases and medications that can lead to a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. A few of these diseases include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Liver diseases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes (I and II)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Renal failure

Diagnosing Bone Loss

Bone loss is measured through bone mineral density (BMD) testing, usually by a noninvasive test called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Measurements are known as T-scores.

  • Normal = T-score greater than -1.0
  • Osteopenia = T-score between -1.0 and -2.5
  • Osteoporosis = T-score at or below -2.5

Experienced Therapists Provide Proven Treatments

UH St. John Medical Center’s staff of licensed physical and occupational therapists has more than 100 years of combined experience, with extensive knowledge in treating patients with osteoporosis and osteopenia. Our therapy specialists will work with you to:

  • Analyze your risks for osteoporosis or osteopenia and discuss how to change the risks that can be modified
  • Help you obtain your FRAX score, which determines your risk for a fracture in the next 10 years
  • Develop a personalized exercise program to help decrease your risk for changes in your posture and your risk for fracture
  • Contact your physician to determine if you would benefit from a DXA scan or changes in your medications

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our physical or occupational therapists, call 440-414-6050.

UH St. John Medical Center Bone Density Testing
UH St. John Medical Center
29000 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, Ohio 44145

Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
UH St. John Medical Center Family Medicine Center
26908 Detroit Road, Suite 300
Westlake, Ohio 44145

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