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Bone Health

The Regional Center for Bone Health, located in the beautiful West Wing at Elkhart General Hospital, provides advanced diagnosis of osteoporosis. Our technologists are trained and certified in bone densitometry by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD). Comprehensive reports, prepared by ISCD-certified physicians, who are clinical experts in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, are provided to both patient and referring physicians.

About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. Osteoporosis and its associated fractures can rob you of your mobility and your independence.

Researchers estimate that about one out of five American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. About half of all women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebra (bones of the spine). Osteoporosis also affects more than two million men over the age of 50 and one out of four men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime.

What causes osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both. Throughout youth, your body uses calcium and phosphate minerals to produce bones. If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from your diet, bone production and bone tissues may suffer. As you age, calcium & phosphate may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones, which makes the bone tissue weaker. This can result in brittle, fragile bones that are more prone to fractures, even without injury. Usually, bone loss occurs gradually over years. Many times, a person will have a fracture before becoming aware that the disease is present. By the time this occurs, the disease is in its advanced stages and damage is severe.

Other causes include:

  • Being confined to a bed
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Excess corticosteroid levels due to ongoing use of medicines for disorders such as asthma and COPD
  • Hyperthyroidism (a thyroid condition)
  • Hyperparathyroidism (disease of the parathyroid glands)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions

Other risk factors include:

Absence of menstrual periods or early menopause, drinking large amount of alcohol, eating disorders, family history of osteoporosis, low body weight, too little calcium in the diet, and use of certain medications, including steroids and anti-seizure drugs.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

  • Symptoms occurring late in the disease include:
  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Fractures with little or no trauma
  • Loss of height over time or stooped posture
  • Low-back pain or neck pain due to fractures of the spinal bones

For More Information

To schedule an appointment, please call Integrated Patient Scheduling at 574-523-3444. For more information, call the Regional Center for Bone Health at 574-523-2751, Option 2.