What is Osteopenia?
Osteopenia is not a disease, rather it is a term used to describe low bone density. Experts chose this term back in the 80s to fit women who didn’t quite have osteoporosis. The reason for that was to motivate women to pay closer attention to their bone health, earlier.
Determining that you have low bone density is done by taking a bone density test or learning what your T-Score is. Knowing your T-Score number is as important as knowing your blood pressure numbers.A normal T-Score range would be -1.0 or higher. If you receive a score between -1.0 and -2.0 your bone density is borderline for developing osteopenia. If you receive a diagnosis of having low bone density, this is not to be taken lightly, because if not monitored closely and preventive measures are not taken, it can lead to bone density loss or osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis however is a disease that breaks down the tissue in our bones. This breaking down of tissues causes the bones to become brittle and easily break.
Today, osteoporosis is a threat to approximately 44 million Americans of which 80 percent of this number are women. Reports have shown that in the alone there are 10 million individuals that have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and another 34 million have low bone density or osteopenia.
By the time you are about 30 years old, your bones are at their personal best. It is at this stage in you life and up until about the age of 50 that your bones will plateau. After this point in life the bones will start to break down faster than they form, this is what results in the bone loss.
Facts about Osteoporosis
- One out of two women and one out of four – eight men will be affected
- It can be disfigure you
- Can reduce your ability to lead an active life
- Leads to 1.5 million fractures or breaks yearly
- Breaks are most likely to happen in the hip, spine and wrist area
- White and Asian women are at the highest risk for having osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis is treatable
In November of 2002, a treatment option became available to women. This treatment called Forteo, stimulates new bone growth, which in turn creates more bone mass. Forteo is given by daily injections and is also approved for use in postmenopausal women.
Estrogen replacement therapy has been shown to decrease the risk of fractures when taken for a period of six or more years.
Fosamax is another treatment; it causes a shift of bone balance toward bone formation. It has been shown over a three-year period of use that taking 10 mg of Fosamax per day rebuilt bone mass in 96% of patients. As a warning to Fosamax users and users of other medications of it’s kind such as Boniva and Actonel , they have been linked to cases of jawbone decay. Since 2001, 2400 patients have reported such incidents happening. It also has been noted that these patients were taking this drugs in potent doses, intravenously. It has been reported that 120 people taking these drugs in pill form suffered from debilitating pain that has either landed them in a wheelchair, on a walker or in some cases they became bed ridden.
How to Prevent Bone Loss
- Eat a balance diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Do weight bearing exercises three or more times a week
- Reduce smoking and alcohol intake
- Take medications when appropriate
Bone loss happens silently, it gives no warning as to what is going on inside the body. The only indication may be back pain or a change in posture.
Bone health is influenced by many factors such as family history, body frame size, diet, calcium intake, vitamin D levels, physical exercise, hormonal balance and lifestyle. So stay healthy and preserve your bones by taking the necessary steps now.