Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease, causing bones to become thin, weak, brittle, and easily broken, sometimes even with mild pressure or normal movement. The condition occurs when the growth of new bone happens slower than the natural breakdown of old bone. It often is associated with poor posture, as it commonly causes fractures in the bones in the spine. It also frequently affects the hips and wrists. Osteoporosis occurs in men and women of all races, but white and Asian women are at the highest risk, especially after menopause, when estrogen levels drop (estrogen is a hormone that helps keep bones strong, among other functions). One out of two women past the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Some people accept it as a natural consequence of the aging process, and it is more common among the elderly. However, it usually can be prevented or minimized by eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and taking the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D. 

The UAB Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology has consistently been ranked as one of the top 10 clinical rheumatology programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. It is internationally recognized for its dedication to pursuing new knowledge and translating research findings into more effective diagnosis and treatment of patients with a variety of rheumatic diseases such osteoporosis. As one of the largest academic rheumatology programs in the nation, the division’s clinical practice logs more than 10,000 visits annually, evaluating and treating patients with various forms of connective tissue disease. It works closely with specialists in musculoskeletal radiology to provide advanced imaging techniques and interpretation of radiographs, CT scans and MRI scans.

In 1995, UAB launched a multidisciplinary osteoporosis clinic at The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, a specialized program that provides a thorough evaluation of patients, including an assessment of bone mineral density, nutritional counseling, physical therapy needs, and treatment and rehabilitation, if appropriate. The clinic’s bone densitometry service is accredited by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry, and the clinic’s physicians are certified as Clinical Densitometrists, reflecting their advanced understanding of skeletal health. The clinic works in conjunction with UAB’s Center for Metabolic Bone Disease, which focuses on osteoporosis research and education, participation in clinical trials, and recruiting new faculty with expertise in basic bone biology, biomedical engineering, and clinical research.

Learn more about osteoporosis and the UAB Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic by visiting our Tone Your Bones website. To make an appointment with one of our osteoporosis specialists, please call (205) 801-8187.

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