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Bone Health

A Woman's Guide to Bone Health

Complex, living tissue, our bones provide structural support for muscles, protect vital organs, and store the calcium essential for bone density and strength. Because they are constantly changing, our bones can heal and may be affected by diet and exercise. 

From adolescence up until the age of about 35, bone is built and stored efficiently. As one ages, however, bone begins to break down faster than new bone can be formed. This is especially the case after menopause when the ovaries stop producing estrogen - the hormone that protects against bone loss.

Please be advised that this location is a provider-based clinic and both a physician and facility fee will be assessed, which may result in a higher out-of-pocket expense.

Contact Information:

Endocrine Consultation and Bone Health Program
Center for Women's Medicine
101 Dudley Street
3rd Floor
Providence, RI 02905
P: (401) 453-7950
P: (401) 276-7838

Schedule a bone density test by calling (401) 276-7838

Osteoporosis is a major health issue for women, especially those over age 50.  Call (401) 276-7838 to schedule your bone density test now.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their density and structural integrity and become fragile and more likely to fracture. Any bone can be affected, but typically, most osteoporotic fractures occur in the hip and spine. These fractures have serious consequences and can require hospitalization and major surgery. Later symptoms of osteoporosis include loss of height, back pain or tenderness, and a curving of the upper back, known as a dowager's hump, in severe cases.

  • Osteoporosis Diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis Risk Factors
  • How to Keep Healthy Bones
There are a variety of tests available which help screen for osteoporosis or osteopenia, but one reliable method is a bone density test which helps:
  • Detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs
  • Predict your chances of fracturing in the future
  • Determine your rate of bone loss and/or monitor the effects of treatment if the test is repeated at intervals of a year or more

Schedule a bone density test today by calling (401) 276-7838.

Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, but there is increased risk among women who are:
  • Caucasians and Asians
  • Small boned and thin
  • Post menopausal
  • Sedentary
  • Excessive exercisers who have experienced loss of periods and/or significant weight loss
  • Smokers
  • Alcohol drinkers
  • Caffeinated beverage drinkers
  • Deficient in dietary or supplemental calcium
  • Members of families with a history of vertebral (spinal) fractures
  • Prescribed certain medications (i.e. steroids, thyroid medication, chemotherapy) and/or who have complicated medical conditions
  • Women who have anorexia or bulimia
What's your personal risk for osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a complex disease and not all of its causes are known. However, when certain risk factors are present, your likelihood of developing osteoporosis is increased. It's important, therefore, to assess your risk and to take steps that help prevent bone health problems. Learn how osteoporosis is diagnosed and how to keep bones healthy.  

Questions
  • Do you have a small, thin frame, or are you Caucasian or Asian?
  • Has a female member of your immediate family broken a bone as an adult?
  • Are you a woman?
  • Have you stopped menstruating?
  • Is your diet low in dairy products and other sources of calcium?
  • Are you physically inactive?
  • Do you exercise to the point that you've stopped menstruating or experienced excessive weight loss?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol in excess?

The more times you answered 'yes,' the greater your risk for developing osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about steps you might take to prevent osteoporosis, or, if symptoms have appeared, to help slow further bone loss.

For the name of a physician or for further information, call Women & Infants Health Line at 1-800-921-9299

A healthy lifestyle is important for keeping bones strong. The three major keys to prevention are:
Diet

Make sure you have an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. The recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1200mg-1500mg. Vitamin D helps promote the body's ability to absorb dietary calcium. The main source of dietary calcium and vitamin D is in dairy products. For example, an 8-ounce glass of whole or skim milk contains 300mg of calcium, one-third the recommended daily allowance. 

Exercise

Weight-bearing exercises such as walking or jogging and resistance training 2-3 times a week are beneficial. The advantages of exercise last only as long as you maintain the exercise program. Exercise alone cannot prevent or cure osteoporosis.

Estrogen & Alendronate

Both estrogen and alendronate are recognized as components of osteoporosis prevention and/or treatment. Women who have regular menstrual cycles enjoy the natural hormonal protection of their own body's estrogen. Young women without menses, post-menopausal or women who had their ovaries removed before the age of 50 may wish to discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with their physician.

Alcohol

Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol leeches calcium, thus reducing bone strength.

Smoking

Smoking - If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces the blood supply to bones, and nicotine slows the production of bone-forming cells.

Meet the Bone Health Team

Kenneth K. Chen, MD

Kenneth Chen, MD, is the endocrine consultation provider. Director of the Division of Obstetric and Consultative Medicine, he has completed dual fellowships in endocrinology at the Prince of Wales Hospital, University of South Wales, Sydney, and in obstetric and consultative medicine at Women & Infants Hospital/Brown University.

Geetha Gopalakrishnan, MD

Geetha Gopalakrishnan, MD, is medical director of the Endocrine Consultation and Bone Health Program. She completed a fellowship in endocrinology at Stanford University Hospital.