The question “What is osteopenia” generally comes up after you’ve been diagnosed with a disorder that seems to have an impact on the quality of your bones. If you’re suffering from osteopenia, then doctors will have determined that your bone density is much lower than that of a standard person. In most cases, the bone density of a human being will peak at the age of 35, and after that point it can begin to deteriorate as a result of numerous different factors.
To diagnose osteopenia, a measurement is conducted to look at your bone mineral density (BMD). This test determines how much of specific minerals can be found in your bones. The BMD measurement that is obtained can estimate how likely it will be that you’ll break a bone from standard daily activities. People who suffer from osteopenia often have a lower bone density compared to most, but this isn’t necessarily a sign of the disease.
Instead, having osteopenia could increase your risk of developing a condition later in life known as osteoporosis. Unlike osteopenia, osteoporosis is a disease which can cause stooping posture, fractures, and even severe periods of pain. The good news is that you can act against osteopenia to reduce your risk of discomfort. The right exercise and diet solutions can help to keep your bones strong, and if you have osteopenia, you should ask your doctor about how you can stop it from getting any worse, so that you might be able to prevent osteoporosis from setting in.
What Is Osteopenia: Risk Factors and Causes
In most cases, your chances of developing osteopenia increase as you get older. Since your bone mass peaks at a certain period in your life, after that point, your body will begin to break down older bones faster than it develops new bone mass, which means that your bones become more brittle and fragile. Sometimes, women can lose bone faster after menopause. If you lose too much of your bone, then you might be diagnosed with osteopenia.
Around half of all Americans aged fifty or above are expected to end up with osteopenia. The more you’re diagnosed with specific risk factors, the more your risk will develop. For instance, you’re more likely to end up with osteopenia if you’re female, have a family history of the condition, or go through menopause before you turn 45. Some people suffer from osteopenia because they don’t get enough exercise, or have a bad diet that lacks vitamin D and calcium.
The National Foundation for Osteoporosis dictates that your BMD should be tested if you’re a woman over the age of 65. Additionally, you should get the test if you’re younger than this and have various risk factors. Your doctor may ask you to have your bone mineral density tested for a range of other reasons too.
What is Osteopenia: Testing your Bone Density
If your doctor is concerned that you might have osteopenia, or he believes that your risk of the disease is particularly high, then he might ask you to undergo the DEXA test. This is otherwise known as the dual energy x-ray absorptiometry test It’s the most common way for determining BMD, and it makes use of x-rays that generally expose people to a lower degree of radiation than a standard X-Ray. The good news is that this test is completely painless and shouldn’t cause you any discomfort.
In most cases, DEXA will measure your bone density in your finger, wrist, shin, heel, spine, forearm, or hip. DEXA will then compare the density in your bone to the standard results of a thirty-year-old from the same race and sex as you. The result is a T-Score which can be used for diagnosis. If your score shows that you suffer from osteopenia, then your DEXA report might include a FRAX score. However, if it doesn’t, your doctor can calculate your score. A FRAX tool uses the bone density that is recorded for you to estimate how likely you are to break an important bone within the next decade. Sometimes, your doctor will use your FRAX score to develop a treatment plan for your osteopenia.
What Is Osteopenia: Treatment Options
Osteopenia can’t be cured but doctors can reduce the risk that your osteopenia will progress into full-blown osteoporosis. The first stage of your treatment will involve carefully-chosen exercise and diet decisions. The risk of bone breakage when you suffer from osteopenia can be quite small, so the doctor will not typically prescribe any medication unless you have a significant amount of risk.
Your doctor might recommend taking a supplement that will help you to get more vitamin D and calcium into your systemjj. However, it’s often better if you can get enough of this substance from your diet. To get more vitamin D and calcium, you can eat a range of low-fat products in the dairy world, including yogurt, milk, and cheese. For vitamin D, you can consume fortified bread, and juices.
It may be worth finding out whether you’re already getting enough of these substances into your system, and there are calculators available on certain websites for osteoporosis which can help with this. This calculator will use grams for measurement, so you may need to do some conversions if you’re not sure. Just remember that thirty grams equals a single ounce.
You might also find that your doctor recommends using exercise to help with your condition too. Running or walking for at least thirty minutes a day will help to strengthen your bones. You will need to engage in regular weight-bearing exercises, but it’s important to remember that it can become much tougher for you to build bone when you’re getting older. With age, your exercise might need to emphasize balance and muscle strengthening techniques instead. Ultimately, the aim will be to reduce your risk of falling and suffering from an injury, break or fracture to your bone that might take a long time to properly heal, or put you in danger in any way.