Published on November 05, 2013

Bone health is the focus of new Nazareth program

Helping determine your risk factors for osteoporosis.

women joggingIdentifying patients at a higher risk for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and helping them prevent fractures is the thrust of a new program at Nazareth Hospital, and it involves a collaboration among medical professionals in many specialties.

The Bone Health Program will eventually screen all patients to determine their risk factors for osteoporosis, a progressive bone disease that can make bones fragile and easy to break. Currently, patients with fractures of the hip or vertebrae are approached by Nazareth doctors as prime candidates for bone density and fracture risk evaluations such as DEXA scans and blood tests, according to physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Patricia Riley, MD.

“Caucasian and thin women are more likely to develop osteoporosis,” explains Dr. Riley. “We would like to see every patient who has concerns about the health of their bones be evaluated. Different specialties are working with us on this, such as radiologists, rheumatologists, internal medicine doctors and others.”

After an initial evaluation, patients work with Nazareth doctors to make their bones stronger. Doctors with the Bone Health Program work to slow down or stop bone loss through a combination of therapies, including medication, physical therapy and weight training.

The best time to prevent bone loss? Before it starts, says Dr. Riley. To keep your bones strong and healthy, she suggests:

  • Make sure you’re getting adequate calcium and vitamin D from both foods and supplements.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Begin doing regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running or lifting weights.

Are you at risk for osteoporosis? Women are four times as likely as men to get the disease, and 30 million Americans are at risk. Are you one of them? Find out at or call 1.866.NAZARETH (1.866.629.2738).