Bone Health

Osteoporosis: A Silent Predator

Osteoporosis is an insidious disorder of the bone characterized by low density and structural deterioration of the bone, which leads to an increased susceptibility or likelihood of fractures (broken bones). The bones most frequently involved are the wrist, spine, rib or hip. Breaks and stress fractures can occur from events as simple as a cough. What's worse, a major fracture such as a broken hip severely limits mobility, bringing about a physical decline and often leading to higher mortality rates.

Osteoporosis is virtually symptom-free other than the telltale hump-backed look that results from loss of bone density. Therefore, the disease frequently goes undiagnosed until an incident occurs. TOA Bone Health's initiative is to provide bone density scans in accessible locations throughout central North Carolina, ultimately detecting the disease at its earliest stage and taking measures to prevent its advancement.

TOA Bone Health's DXA or bone density scanner is located on a mobile unit, which travels to numerous sites in North Carolina. The is also a stationary unit at the William Penn Plaza location in Durham. Dr. Robert Stewart is the chief operator of the mobile unit and TOA's consultant for osteoporosis treatment. He has dedicated the past 12 years of his extensive medical career to the diagnosis and treatment of this silent disease. His physician assistant, Catherine Sweeney, PA-C also performs consultations at various TOA offices. She has worked in the field of osteoporosis for five years.

Click here for a complete list of locations serviced by the TOA Bone Health Mobile Unit

To reach our Bone Health department please call: (919) 383-3388

Awards and Recognitions

Gold Star Award - International Osteoporosis Foundation:

Voted BEST practice in the Triangle of practices committed to closing the treatment gap for osteoporosis! Click here to read more!

Where to Learn More about Osteoporosis

TOA Bone Health wants to help you sort through the growing pool of information about osteoporosis, its effects and its treatments. The more knowledgeable you are about your health, the better. Below are several worthwhile sources of information.

National Osteoporosis Foundation

FRAX – FRAX® is a statistical analysis tool developed by the World Health Organization which allows individuals to assess their fracture risks.

Zoledronic acid – An osteoporosis treatment by Novartis which can be administered once per year as an infusion in our treatment center.

ProliaForteo Osteoporosis treatment from Amgen which can be administered every six months as a standard subcutaneous shot in our mobile lab or at one of our treatment centers.

For Healthcare Professionals

Prolia Pro – Amgen's support site for medical professionals.

Click here for important facts about osteoporosis

Frequently Asked Questions


There are some very effective medicines developed in recent years which can help fortify the density of bone to delay or even prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Bone Health is fully certified to provide consultation, treatment and therapies, which include Reclast®, Prolia®, and Forteo®.

Osteopenia is a bone condition in which bone mineral density is lower than normal. Many doctors consider osteopenia a precursor to osteoporosis.

Petite frame or stature; family history of osteoporosis; previous fracture after the age of 40; parental history of hip fracture; rheumatoid arthritis; taking steroids for three months or greater, or other medications predisposing to low bone density.

Each bone density scan (or DXA, pronounced "DEX'-ah") is performed by a medical provider and Certified Densitometrist. It includes a physician consultative report, assessment of fracture risks, comparison with previous scans and more. All reports are sent to your regular physician. These exams are performed in a purpose-built Winnebago® mobile lab or in our William Penn Plaza office equipped with a state-of-the-art bone density scan unit, linked to the latest in diagnostic imaging and reporting technology.

T-score is obtained by comparing your bone density to an optimal bone density, which is that of a young adult with normal bones. According to World Health Organization criteria, osteopenia is defined as a T-score between -1.1 and -2.4. Your T-score is included on the test report given to you. If you have osteopenia you are at some risk for fractures (broken bones), but the risk is not as great as someone with osteoporosis whose T-score would be -2.5 or less. T-scores obtained by a different DXA scan machine (GE Lunar, Norland) cannot be directly compared with our machine (Hologic).

Guidelines call for an initial baseline scan for women at age 50. Medicare allows a test every two years if clinically indicated.

No, it is totally noninvasive and painless.

Usually first-time appointments take no more than an hour, less for follow-ups.

You will receive less radiation than you would on a flight from New York to Los Angeles.

No, but do not take any calcium tablets on the day of the test.

No, you may stay fully clothed, though we request you not wear clothing with zippers in the waist and hip area. And usually we can work around belly rings.

The FRAX® tool enables anyone to determine their risk of suffering a fracture in the next 10 years. FRAX® was developed by the World Health Organization to evaluate fracture risk. Using statistical data compiled from tracking certain representative population groups in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, any individual can complete a short FRAX® survey and receive a report on the probability of a fracture within the next 10 years. This enables those at an elevated risk of fracture to take steps to enhance their bone health.

Although supplements are available, it is a fact of life that as a woman approaches menopause, her body begins to change as she moves out of child-bearing years. So it is very important to monitor bone density to ensure that your bone strength is not being compromised.

Men are less likely than women to suffer from osteoporosis, yet men 70 and over and men of any age with any risk factors are strongly encouraged to have their bone density tested. Some medications and treatments can affect bone density, so it's important for men to be aware of their bone density status.


"Being able to access your Orthopedic Urgent Care on a Saturday was a God-send. It was wonderful to avoid an ER. Thank you all so much for being open on Saturdays and after hours, Monday through Friday."

"Being able to access your Orthopedic Urgent Care on a Saturday was a God-send. It was wonderful to avoid an ER. Thank you all so much for being open on Saturdays and after hours, Monday through Friday."

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