Traveling nearly 600 miles each month on winding mountain roads, the MedWest Health System osteoporosis bus provides bone density testing to women throughout rural Western North Carolina.
The equipped mobile unit leaves MedWest’s nationallyaccredited Osteoporosis Center in Clyde each week, traveling to Swain, Graham, Macon, Madison and northern Jackson counties to test women who have been scheduled for the testing by their primary care physicians.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones in which the bones become brittle and are more likely to break. By 2020, one in two Americans over age 50 is expected to have or be at risk of developing osteoporosis of the hip; even more will be at risk of developing osteoporosis at any site in the skeleton, according to the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General. Older women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis than men.
“The osteoporosis van is just one way MedWest can provide access to critical bone density testing for women who may not be able to travel to a facility that has on-site testing,” said Jeannie Shaffer, director of the MedWest osteoporosis program.
MedWest provides on-site bone density testing at the Osteoporosis Center at MedWest-Haywood in the MedWest Health & Fitness Center, at MedWest-Harris at Harris Medical Park, MedWest-Swain and at MedWest-Franklin.
The Osteoporosis Center at MedWest-Haywood is one of the most comprehensive treatment programs in the state. It is currently the only center accredited in Western North Carolina by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry. Dr. Kate Queen, a rheumatologist at Mountain Medical Associates, is the medical director of the program.
The Osteoporosis Center at MedWest-Haywood is dedicated to the prevention, detection, and treatment of osteoporosis. A full range of osteoporosis services are offered, including risk assessment, nutritional counseling, and physical and occupational therapy. A monthly community education program is free and open to the public.
For more information, call the MedWest-Haywood Osteoporosis Center at (828)452-8850.
MedWest Health System provides healthcare for the people of Western North Carolina at MedWest-Harris, Med- West-Haywood and MedWest-Swain hospitals, and the outpatient facility MedWest-Franklin. MedWest employs 2,100 people in the mountains and is locally governed by a 14-member board. MedWest is affiliated with Carolinas HealthCare System.