Osteoporosis

NorthShore Weight and Metabolism

Endocrinology & Obesity Medicine located in Amesbury, MA

Osteoporosis is a common condition, especially among older adults. If you are at risk for or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, turn to NorthShore Weight and Metabolism in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Dr. Dominica Costello has been officially interpreting bone density exams and treating patients with osteopenia/osteoporosis for her entire career. She is a member of the International Society for Clinical Densitometry and stays up-to-date with the latest treatments for bone loss. Call the office to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online today.

Osteoporosis Q & A


What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a common chronic disease that causes weak, brittle bones and increases your risk of fractures. Common places for osteoporosis-related fractures are your spine, wrists, and hips. If you’re at risk of osteoporosis or already have the condition, the NorthShore Weight and Metabolism team can help.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

Oftentimes osteoporosis doesn’t produce any symptoms, at least not initially. But over time, you might notice:

  • Back pain
  • Loss of height
  • Stooped posture
  • Bones that break easily

Fractures, especially hip and wrist fractures, often occur during falls in people with osteoporosis. Spine and hip fractures can occur even without falling.

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis-related fractures?

Osteoporosis is prevalent in men and women (especially post-menopausal women). Known risk factors for fracture are:

  • Advanced age
  • Previous fracture
  • Long-term glucocorticoid (“steroid”) therapy
  • Low body weight (less than 127 lbs)
  • Parental history of hip fracture
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Race/ethnicity (higher risk in White, rather than Black, Hispanic, or Asian Americans)

If you have Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, kidney or liver disease, or rheumatoid arthritis, your risk of developing osteoporosis increases.

How does my doctor diagnose osteoporosis?

To measure your bone density and diagnose osteopenia or osteoporosis, a DEXA is performed or “bone density exam.” The DEXA is done by a specialized machine, similar to an x-ray machine; however, you lie down on a table and the machine measures your bone density. 

How is osteoporosis treated?

Osteoporosis is treated using a combination of lifestyle changes, over-the-counter supplements such as calcium and vitamin D, and when appropriate, prescription medication. Lifestyle changes include safe weight-bearing exercise, good nutrition, and avoidance of smoking and excess alcohol.

What are osteoporosis prevention strategies?

Ways you can lower your risk of osteoporosis include:

  • Eating calcium-rich foods
  • Taking dietary supplements of calcium and vitamin D as directed by your doctor
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol
  • Getting regular exercise

Combine strength training workouts with balance and weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, running, rope jumping, and stair climbing. First, check with your doctor to make sure these types of exercise are safe. 

If you or your primary care doctor would like your bone density test evaluated to determine if any treatment is needed, call the NorthShore Weight and Metabolism office or request an appointment online today.