As we get older there are many threats to maintaining good health. But did you know that one of the most common diseases to strike many Americans is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass in which bones become extremely fragile and are more likely to break. Bone fragility leads to increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist.

Believe it or not, more than 1.5 million fractures annually are a direct result of osteoporosis. And many of us, regardless of age, are potential targets for the disease.

The UAB Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic is available to provide complete expert care, from clinical and therapeutic services to education and information programs.

Specialists in the fields of osteoporosis, nutrition and physical therapy work collectively to help patients treat existing conditions and prevent further complications with proper medication, diet and exercise.

New therapies explored

The UAB Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic is conducting several clinical trials to examine new and existing medical drugs and procedures.

“We’re looking at a variety of new therapies, and there are a number of potential benefits to participating in clinical trials,” says Kenneth Saag, M.D., director of osteoporosis clinical research. “You may gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available. You obtain expert medical care at UAB during the trial. And, ultimately, you’re helping others by contributing to medical research.”

Some of the studies under way are for postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy and not being treated for osteoporosis and for postmenopausal women age 45 or older who have had a vertebral (back) fracture, have been postmenopausal for at least two years and have had back pain for at least two months.

If you have osteoporosis, there is an osteoporosis education class during lunch on Wednesdays at the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic. Calcium supplements, nutrition and exercise programs to help treat the disease are highlighted each week. Lunch is provided.

“It’s a very good class for educating people on how to take better care of their bones,” Saag says.

For more information on the clinical trials, the class or any other osteoporosis-related topics, contact Kerry Renfroe at 934-1444, Jo Ann Kiser at 934-1976, or call 1-888-534-0367. Also, visit online.