Bone Health & Osteoporosis

Conditions We Treat

Osteoporosis is only one of a number of metabolic bone disorders that can strike as you age—or that can even in children. UR Medicine's Center for Bone Health diagnoses and treats all conditions that can weaken or damage your bone structure.

  • Arthritis: Everyone has aches and pains as they get older, but these are not always associated with arthritis, a serious health issue that can have a significant impact on your quality of life. When the pain is in your joints, it could be caused by one of many forms of arthritis that are grouped in three general categories: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis.
  • Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis or Ischemic Bone Necrosis): Bones need blood to be strong and healthy, so when the blood supply to the bone gets interrupted, the bone begins to die. Eventually, the bone will become brittle and collapse. This condition occurs most often in the upper leg, where a fracture or dislocation can affect the blood flow to the bone. It also may be caused by long-term use of corticosteroids, alcoholism, or a blood clot.
  • Bone Disease After Organ Transplant: Doctors have found that a rapid decrease in bone mineral density may take place during the first year after a successful kidney, heart, lung or liver transplant. Whether or not this leads to the potential for fractures has not yet been determined conclusively, but transplant patients should be monitored for this possibility.
  • Fibrous Dysplasia: In this uncommon genetic disorder, a fibrous tissue grows in place of part of the normal bone. The bone becomes weak in the area that has this tissue, causing a deformity or a fracture. Fibrous dysplasia tends to reveal itself in adolescents and young adults.
  • Hyperparathyroidism: You have four tiny parathyroid glands in your neck, and they produce a hormone that maintains the balance of calcium in your bloodstream. If one of these becomes enlarged, it can produce too much of the hormone— which then causes too much calcium in the bloodstream. Alternately, another disease can cause calcium levels to drop, sparking the release of too much of the hormone. This increases the amount of calcium, which can cause bone disorders and a range of other symptoms.
  • Infectious Arthritis: Some kinds of bacterial, fungal, or viral infections can spread to other parts of your body, including a joint. If you have intense pain in just one joint that prevents you from moving the joint, as well as redness, swelling, and a fever, you may have this infection.
  • Juvenile Osteoporosis: This rare bone disease usually comes from another medical condition or illness, or from the medications used to treat the illness. In a few cases, there is no obvious cause. Diagnosis and treatment are very important during this time in a child's life, when bones are growing and gaining density they will need throughout adulthood. URMC Center for Bone Health is the only center in the greater Rochester area that can diagnose and treat children as young as 5 years old.
  • Metastatic Cancer: Cancer that begins in one part of your body can move on to your bones, even if you have had aggressive treatment and you have defeated the original cancer. The cancer cells make the journey through your bloodstream or lymph system and into the bone marrow, attracted there by proteins called cytokines. Here the cancer cells may remain dormant for years until they are triggered to create new blood vessels to feed themselves. The result is a process called bone metastasis, which leads to a tumor in the bone. The tumor may reveal itself when you feel pain in a bone or when a bone breaks without any apparent cause.
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta: If your bones break easily throughout your life for no apparent reason, you may have this rare genetic disorder. This comes from having too little collagen, the main protein that makes up the body's connective tissue.
  • Osteomyelitis: This bone infection can come from bone surgery, a staph infection, or simply from the bacteria that create this infection, which live on the skin or inside the nose. In some cases, germs from pneumonia, a urinary tract infection, or another bacterial illness can travel in your bloodstream to a weak spot in a bone. Children can get this infection in their growth plates, the soft areas at the ends of the arms and legs where the bones develop. Pain, swelling and redness in the affected area are the main symptoms, along with fever, chills, and tiredness.
  • Osteopenia: When your bone density is lower than normal peak density (as measured in a DXA scan), you have osteopenia. All people loss some bone mass as they age—in fact, this diminishing mass begins in our 30s—but osteopenia signals a condition to watch. It may come from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, use of steroids, or the chemotherapy and radiation therapy associated with cancer. This does not mean that you definitely will develop osteoporosis, but it does increase your risk.
  • Osteoporosis: Literally, osteoporosis means "porous bones." As people (especially women) age, we lose bone mass—and this loss speeds up as women reach menopause. When bones become brittle and weak, they break more easily. Small fractures can happen during a coughing spasm, a fall, a bump into a wall or door, or in many other situations that normally would not cause a bone to break. You may have back pain from small fractures, a loss of height, a number of fractures that occur over time, and the forward bending of the spine known as "dowager's hump."
  • Paget's Disease: This disease disrupts the process of remodeling, the continual process of developing new bone throughout your body. People with Paget's disease do not develop new bone to replace old bone, so the old bone begins to wear out and break down faster than the body can replace it. The soft, weak bone is always in danger of breakage. Most people who have Paget's disease are affected in one area of the body—often the pelvis, skull, spine, or leg. Bone pain, tingling, weakness, and deformities are all symptoms of this disease.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: As the name implies, this form of arthritis is directly related to psoriasis, a skin condition that produces a scaly covering over reddened patches. Painful joint inflammation can accompany psoriasis, producing stiffness and swelling in any part of the body. UR Medicine's Center for Bone Health can work with you to control the symptoms until your next period of remission.
  • Reactive Arthritis (Reiter's Syndrome): A joint can have a reaction to an infection somewhere else in your body—a bladder or urinary tract infection, for example. Eating a food that contains certain kinds of bacteria or passing bacteria during sex can also cause this reaction.
  • Renal Osteodystrophy: This bone disease develops when the kidneys can't maintain the levels of calcium and phosphorous that bones need to be healthy. People with kidney disease often have this disorder, In children, this can mean bone deformities or limited height; in adults, the bone disorder can begin to have an effect before symptoms surface.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder—your immune system mistakenly attacks your body instead of fighting off infection. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, causing pain and swelling and, eventually, bone erosion and deformity. It begins in the joints of your hands and feet, and it sometimes affects other organs like your eyes, skin, and lungs. Treatment can help slow the joint damage and give you the tools to manage the pain.

Medicine of the Highest Order

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