Multidisciplinary Approach to Evaluate and Treat Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disorders

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to fracture. Loyola Medicine’s Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center provides a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases. 

Our center brings together the expertise of internists, geriatricians, family medicine doctors and endocrinologists to care for patients with osteoporosis. If needed, this team will work in close coordination with orthopaedic surgeons to treat fractures that may occur as a result or osteoporosis or a variety of metabolic bone diseases, including:

  • Calcium and other mineral disorders
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Osteomalacia
  • Osteopenia
  • Paget's disease
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Why Choose Loyola Medicine for Osteoporosis Care?

With numerous specialists on staff, Loyola takes a comprehensive approach to preventing, treating and studying bone disease. Women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis because of bone loss due to aging, yet many women with osteoporosis do not know they have the disease. As a result, one of our objectives is to educate patients and the community about osteoporosis. It is important to know the symptoms of osteoporosis, your level of risk and how to take preventive measures.

Loyola’s geriatric fracture program provides a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of older adult patients with fragility fractures due to osteoporosis. About 50 percent of older women and a third of older men will suffer a major osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. Fractures in older adults often lead to chronic pain, reduced mobility, disability and a loss of independence. Loyola’s center brings together the expertise of an integrated team to care for older adult patients with fractures resulting from osteoporosis or other causes.

Loyola also offers clinical trials to osteoporosis patients that are often not available at other centers.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, the most common bone disease, leaves bones weaker, thinner and more brittle. Patients with osteoporosis may have back pain, a hunched posture or height loss and are at an increased risk of broken bones and fractures. Fractures as a result of osteoporosis most commonly occur in the hips, spine and wrists.

Some people have a higher genetic risk of getting osteoporosis and this risk increases with age as the body produces less estrogen or testosterone. Some common risk factors include:

  • Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low body weight
  • Malabsorption of calcium
  • Reduced levels of estrogen or testosterone
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking

You can prevent osteoporotic fractures and slow bone loss by making lifestyle changes and following treatment strategies recommended by your Loyola doctor. 

How Is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?

Your Loyola doctor can determine if osteoporosis is the cause of your symptoms with several tests of bone mineral density (BMD). The most common test is a DXA scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), a low-radiation X-ray that detects bone loss and measures the bone density of your complete skeleton or particular bones of interest, as determined by your doctor. 

If your Loyola doctor suspects that a medical condition is causing your bone loss, an ultrasound, quantitative computed tomography (QCT), a blood test or urine test may be used to identify possible causes of bone loss. X-rays are used to identify spine fractures. 

How is Osteoporosis Treated?

Doctors at Loyola offer the latest treatment options to prevent additional bone loss and promote new bone growth. Treatment of osteoporosis may involve:

  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Changing diet 
  • Increasing exercise
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Medications
  • Quitting smoking