Osteopenia vs. Osteoperosis – What You Need To Know For Better
Many baby boomers have never heard of osteopenia. In fact, many women
with osteopenia do not even know they have it until a bone is fractured. For these
women, the next step down is osteoporosis, so this is a critical stage that can
impact the rest of their lives. Women can stop the bone loss now
http://www.agingfit.com/osteopenia-osteoperosi or they can do nothing and end
up with fragile bones that break easily and send them to bed or to a wheelchair.
WHAT is Osteopenia
Osteopenia is a condition of low bone density, which can be normal for
some women in the aging process, but is a major issue for women who are
genetically disposed to ostepenia or osteooporosis.
If bone density is not addressed, the bones of women with osteopenia
continue to deteriorate into osteoporosis, or severe bone loss. At that point, the
bones are so fragile that a simple fall may result in a fractured hip. In fact, most
people have heard about someone who fell down, broke a hip, and never
WHO is Most at Risk?
Since more than 18 million women have osteopenia, it should be a concern
for all women. Many post-menopausal women have osteopenia because of lost
estrogen. Other factors that can cause estrogen loss as well:
• Excessive alcohol use
• Lack of exercise
• Some asthma medications
A broken bone in a middle-age person can be a sign of osteopenia, or even
osteoporosis. As the bone becomes less dense, the possibility of fracture increases.
Once there is even just one fracture, it is a sign that you are at risk for more
fractures. The factors that cause women to develop osteopenia are actually the
same as for osteoporosis.
Young athletic women often develop osteopenia because they have low
body weight. Since estrogen levels are stored in body fat, athletic or very thin
women have a greater chance of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Some women athletes do not have a menstrual period, which throws off their
estrogen levels and encourages osteopenia. Women with lean, muscular bodies and
no fat are at particularly at risk, especially the following athletes:
Runners often absorb less calcium than other women. That happens because
they tend to avoid milk products when they are in training. Other risks that increase
a woman’s potential for developing osteopenia are:
• Early menopause
• Genetic disposition to osteoporosis
• Anorexia nervosa
• Not consuming enough calcium
• Small, thin frame
HOW to Diagnose Osteopenia
A DEXA X-ray, or dual X-ray absorptionetry, is a test that can scan any
bone in the body to diagnose bone density. They say if a middle-aged or older
woman has sustained a bone fracture, it is very possible that she may already have
osteopenia or even osteoporosis.
There is just no way to know you have it unless you receive the X-ray.
Another test that some doctors use, however, is the quantitative ultrasound, which
measures the speed of sound against the bone.
WHEN Should Women Get a Bone Density Test?
Experts suggest all women over 65 should get one. They also recommend
the test for women 60 years old who have certain risk factors. It is important to
discuss this issue with your doctor to come up with a screening plan that is
appropriate for you.
HOW to Prevent or Heal Osteopenia
The bottom line in preventing osteopenia is to maintain the densest bones
possible. The denser they are, the stronger they are. Other factors that come into
play include hormones, nutrition, some medications, and an acid diet. These issues
can cause thin or weak bones, but not all women with the same bone density share
equal risk for fractures.
The important difference is lifestyle and diet. Women who exercise, watch
their diet, and consume enough calcium, minerals, and vitamins will have stronger
Another individual factor in preventing osteopenia or osteoporosis is vitamin
D. In fact, Canada is so convinced of its importance that they say a diet with
enough vitamin D and calcium, along with exercise, will result in strong bones and
help prevent osteoporosis. The U.S. does not yet make that claim with vitamin D,
but it is something to keep in mind.
Vitamin D is available in very few foods, but it is found in fatty fish like
sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring. It is also added to many dairy products and
juices. Most of what the body gets, however, is absorbed from sunlight.
Surprisingly, 6 days of sunlight can offset 49 days of no sunlight. Body fat stores
vitamin D when there is sunlight, and releases it when the sun goes away.
People who are middle aged and older do not spend as much time in the
sunshine as younger people. They also do not have as many receptors in their skin
to convert sunlight to vitamin D. Their bodies also have more problems absorbing
vitamin D, even when it is in their diet. Supplements do not convert well in older
people because of their aging kidneys.
For people over 65, more than 40% do not have enough vitamin D in their
system, even those who live in sunny southern climates. To prevent osteopenia and
osteoarthritis, all women should take vitamin D supplements along with a healthy
diet and exercise, but particularly those who live in northern climates with little
Foods with the proper nutrients include:
OSTEOPENIA – Stopping Osteoperosis Early
Appropriate exercises can help keep osteopenia and osteoporosis at bay.
These exercises should include activities such as:
For good bone health, women need to take charge of their own bodies as
they age. It is never too late to start. The good news is that wherever you are in the
bone density category, any change now will lead you down the path to good bone
health and the prevention of osteopenia.
To continue reading the rest of the article and find out our
recommendations, please click here: http://www.agingfit.com