What is Osteopenia?

older women in the park

Osteopenia is when the bones are weaker than normal, but not so weak that they break easily, which is the hallmark of osteoporosis. As usual, a person’s bones are closest at about age 30. If osteopenia occurs, it is usually around age 50. The exact age depends on how strong they were during their childhood.

Diet, exercise, and sometimes medications can help keep bones dense and strong for decades. So, with a healthy and active life you can prevent osteopenia in the futureand that this gradually becomes osteoporosis.

Which people are at risk for osteopenia?

osteopenia occurs when the body removes more bone than it makes. If a person’s bones have been strong during their childhood, they may never develop this condition. On the other hand, if your bones are normally a bit brittle, you can get osteopenia before age 50.

Some people are genetically predisposed to it and have a family history of this condition. It is also more common in women than in men. Women have less bone mass than men. Women also live longer, meaning their pillows age longer, and they generally don’t get as much calcium as men.

What are the medical causes of osteopenia?

elderly woman on a bicycle

Calcium is key to maintaining healthy bones. Hormonal changes that occur during menopause increase the risk of osteopenia in women, and men with lower testosterone levels are also more likely to have it. Another common possibility is that you have a medical condition or treatment that could be causing the condition.

eating disordersDiabetes, such as anorexia and bulimia, can deprive the body of the nutrients it needs to keep bones strong. but they exist other causes, such as the one we will describe below:

  • untreated celiac disease. People with this condition can damage their small intestines by eating foods that contain gluten.
  • an overactive thyroid. Too much thyroid medication can also play a role.
  • Chemotherapy. Radiation exposure can have a negative effect on bone density.
  • certain drugs. Medications such as steroids and anticonvulsants can also have a negative effect on the bones.

How Is Osteopenia Diagnosed?

Osteopenia normally has no symptoms. This makes it difficult to diagnose unless you have a bone density test. The test is painless and fast. It is performed using X-rays. This test is recommended in the following cases:

  • You are a woman of 65 years or older
  • You are a postmenopausal woman aged 50 years or older
  • You are over 65 with risk factors
  • You are a woman of normal age have menopause and you have a high risk of bone fractures due to the presence of other risk factors
  • You are a woman who is already in menopause, you are under 65 years of age and you have other risk factors
  • If you broke a bone after age 50 without a serious accident, also known as a fragility fracture

Is lifestyle an important factor?

older woman in the sun

Poor diet, lack of exercise and unhealthy habits can contribute to this condition. So the following points must be observed::

  • Not having sufficient calcium levels or vitamin D
  • Not moving enough, especially strength training
  • smoking is harmful
  • Drinking too much alcohol increases health problems, including those related to the bones.

With this in mind, if you think you are at risk of developing this condition, talk to your doctor. It’s never too early to take preventive measures for osteopenia. Your doctor can advise you on an exercise plan that is appropriate for your physical condition. In addition, it will also advise you on the foods that should not be missing in your daily diet.

But even if you already have osteopenia, it’s never too late to prevent it from developing into osteoporosis. Here are some tips for a healthy life:

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D. Walk in the sun for about 15 minutes a day and eat dairy products, spinach, eggs, fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, cereals or beans. These foods are essential for our bones and are probably the most important for keeping our bones healthy.
  • Weightlifting. You can exercise regularly with weights to prevent or delay osteopenia. Remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Lifestyle changes. That is, eliminate unhealthy habits such as smoking and reduce the consumption of carbonated drinks and alcohol.


Author: pauadu

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