What You Need to Know About Osteopenia
Basically, osteopenia is a kind of condition in the bones whereby they lose their mass and thus become weaker compared to before. It occurs when the inner part of becomes get weaker and brittle. It’s not life-threatening and is actually common as people age; you may experience osteopenia in your 30. Those who are experiencing osteopenia, are more prone to developing osteoporosis later on.
Signs and Symptoms
In reality, people who are developing osteopenia do not display signs or symptoms. The eventual loss of the bone’s mass is not painful but the person is at higher risk of sustaining fractures, although these occur when osteoporosis takes place.
Causes of Osteopenia
Bones constantly change during a person’s life; old bones gradually break down and are absorbed by the body while new ones grow simultaneously. In the early years of life, the body grows new bones faster than it can break down old bones, this process contributes higher bine mass. When the body begins to breakdown the old bones at a quicker rate than it takes to grow new ones, bone mass decreases. Bones become prone to breaking and fractures once the bone mass has weakened. The beginning of the decrease in bone mass is called osteopenia; for some, it may lead to osteoporosis.
Women are a lot more prone to osteopenia than men and there are various reasons behind this. Overall, women have lower bone mass, to begin with, and their bodies absorb significantly less calcium compared to that of men. After menopause, the rate of bone loss quickens due to the fall of estrogen levels. Because the ovaries produce estrogen, the rate of bone loss speeds up when both are removed through surgery.
Diagnosis of Osteopenia
A proper diagnosis of osteopenia requires a bone density test, done by licensed doctors. A bone density test measures bone strength and bone mass. Another kind of test that can be done is a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DXA. The test involves the measurement of the bone density in the wrist, hips, and spine. The result verifies if a person has osteopenia or osteoporosis or if the bones are normal. The lower the result the more prone the bone is to breakage; T-scores between -1 and -2.5 means there is osteopenia while T-scores below -2.5 mark osteoporosis.
Can it be Avoided or Prevented?
Osteopenia is not totally avoidable, some natural factors like the ones listed below, increase a person’s risk:
? Surgery that removes a woman’s ovaries;
? Higher chances in woman compared to men;
? Bone mass naturally decreases over time;
? Osteopenia is found to be more common in Asians and Caucasians;
? Early menopause (before reaching the usual age of 45);
? History of osteopenia or osteoporosis in the family;
Below are some steps you can take to lower the risk of developing osteopenia;
? Pick up an exercise routine;
? Completely stop using tobacco or smoking;
? Enough intake of vitamin D and calcium through supplement and foods;
? As much as possible, avoid alcohol consumption;
? Develop a healthy diet because eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia and the like will decrease a person’s bone mass.
Keep in mind that certain medicines, especially with long-term intake also contribute to the increase; these include anticonvulsants and corticosteroids.