Osteopenia is a well-being disorder concerning low bone mass. In this case, a person has frail bones that are more likely to break. Also, these individuals have slightly less dense bones. Therefore, it’s not as severe as osteoporosis.
On a health card, healthy bones get an A, bones with osteopenia get a B or C, and in the case of osteoporosis, it’s a D or F. You can compare these grades to evaluate the condition of your bones. In addition, a DEXA scan and doctor can help in better understanding the disease.
It’s essential to understand the role and importance of bones to know about osteopenia.
Do you know that bones begin developing when you’re a fetus? It endures emerging until you are in your 20s. It is known that the bone’s density starts decreasing after 35 years of age.
Osteopenia is a fragile bone condition. If you have osteopenia, it’s important to understand the state, its causes, and its impact.
In addition, you must know that the right actions and choices can help avoid and improve the situation. However, if it’s left unattended and untreated, it can lead to osteoporosis. It’s a severe condition and can lead to additional complications.
What are the Symptoms of Osteopenia?
Osteopenia does not cause pain. A person identified with this illness does not even sense any problems in movement. In addition, the indications aren’t very noticeable, which makes it tough to detect the ailment.
The most common symptom is height loss. It might sound surprising. But, osteopenia leads to losing an average of an inch of height as a person ages. However, losing more than an inch can indicate some bone quality issues.
When considering the signs and symptoms of osteopenia, broken bones and fractures are the most prominent ones. These indicate some bone abnormality that requires attention.
For example, suppose a person over 50 years falls from a standing height and breaks a bone. The risk would be higher if the same person dropped at a younger age.
The doctors assess the overall bone density that helps in screening for osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Causes and Risk Factors of Osteopenia
According to medical research, several factors lead to osteopenia. First, it can be a genetic condition that leads to early bone loss. Additionally, there are some hormonal factors like declining estrogen levels or immobility.
Finally, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or other bone-related diseases also become the cause of osteopenia. In addition, some believe that extensive usage of certain medicines leads to weakening the bones.
Moreover, some other causes have also been found, which include:
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Gastric bypass surgery.
- Long-term use of Corticosteroid.
- Certain gastrointestinal surgeries.
- Low calcium intake.
- Radiation exposure.
- Thin body frame.
- Celiac disease.
- Cystic fibrosis.
Further, doctors believe that a poor diet and a lack of physical activities and exercise also increase the risk for osteopenia.
Diagnosis of Osteopenia
For the diagnosis of osteopenia, a bone density test is taken. It involves measuring the strength of the bones. In addition, a DEXA scan is commonly used to determine bone health and the overall risk of fracture.
Overall, the DEXA scan focuses on two areas:
- The hip bone.
- The spine.
The scan provides a better idea of whether a person is likely to get fractures or not. The scan takes around 10 to 20 minutes and involves a very low amount of radiation.
The results from the test provide a T-score, which indicates the overall bone density. A higher score is good, while the lower shows weaker bones.
Here is a speedy key to understanding the results:
- T-score ≥ 1.0 = normal.
- T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 = low bone density. It confirms osteopenia.
- T-score ≤ -2.5 = osteoporosis.
Additionally, you can also find a Z score in some cases.
Finally, it delivers a contrast of your bone density to a regular total. Overall, it relies on age and body size.
In the same context, National Osteoporosis Foundation has claimed that it’s essential for the following people to get their bone mass density tested:
- A woman age 65 or older.
- A woman is younger than 65 and post-menopausal.
- Post-menopausal and have a broken bone.
A DEXA scan and some other tests help in diagnosing osteopenia. In addition, early diagnosis can help in initiating treatments earlier.
How to Treat Osteopenia?
The overall objective of the treatment is to control osteopenia and ensure that it does not progress into osteoporosis.
Here are some ways to treat osteopenia:
- A Healthy Lifestyle
A good diet and some healthy choices can contribute to stronger bones. Similarly, if you already have osteopenia, a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of getting osteoporosis.
Your régime must contain the following:
- Low-fat dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Orange juice.
- Bread and cereals.
- Dried beans
Further, it is recommended that the person with osteoporosis takes calcium and vitamin D supplements. Again, it is because, in many cases, you aren’t getting it enough from the food intake. You can use a calcium calculation to measure the intake of nutrients.
- Osteopenia Exercises
If you have osteopenia, your doctor will suggest some specific exercises. These are commonly recommended to young adults.
- Running for at least 30 minutes.
- Weight-bearing exercises.
Even if you perform some of these exercises for a short duration, it can lower the overall risks.
In addition, as a person gets older, building bone becomes complicated. Hence, it’s essential to pay attention to exercises beneficial for muscle strengthening and body balance.
Some of the workouts that can help consist of:
- Toe and heel raise.
- Hip abductors.
- Prone leg lifts.
According to the DEXA scan report, your doctor may prescribe some medications if your bone density score is low. The purpose of these medicines is to ensure that osteopenia does not progress to osteoporosis.
For instance, here is a list of some of the medicines that are FDA-approved and are recommended commonly:
Never take any medication without consulting your doctor. The situation and state differ from person to person.
Therefore, doctors can advise drugs and treatments rendering to the requirements of the patient.
The bottom line is that osteopenia is a bone condition. If your bone density is low, it’s essential to strengthen it by taking medications, a healthy diet, and physical activities.
In the early stages, if you understand the causes and risks of osteopenia, it can help in preventing it. The doctors recommend stopping activities that primarily lead to osteopenia. Hence, avoid too much intake of caffeine and alcohol and stop smoking. In addition, you can pay attention to adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Overall, you need to know that people of all ages must pay attention to maintaining their bone strength. In addition, enough intake of calcium and vitamin D is essential for the body.
If you face any indications of osteopenia, it’s vital to visit a doctor straight away. Early analysis and action can help in evading the development of osteoporosis.