Its tongue-twister of a name aside, there’s nothing funny about osteopenia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteopenia is a state of reduced mineral and protein content in bone tissue, which doesn’t sound quite as alarming as other conditions, but still manages to fill you with a feeling of dread, as you wonder what the implications are.
Peak human bone mass is widely considered to occur at 30. After this, loss of bone density begins as a normal part of ageing (because you don’t already have enough to worry about).
However, for some people, the degeneration process is advanced more rapidly by certain health and lifestyle factors, like hormonal changes in women during and after menopause, for instance, which leads to bone cells being re-absorbed by the body faster than they are manufactured.
Doctors consider normal bone mineral density to be a score of -1 and above on the T-score, (which is equal to the average bone density of a 30-year old white woman). Osteopenia is said to be present when the bone mineral density T-score is -1 to – 2.5 and below. Osteopenia does not necessarily mean you are losing bone density, however where people are experiencing bone loss, it could eventually lead to Osteoporosis, although this is not necessarily always true. Some people naturally have lower bone density, while others never even achieve a high peak bone mass in their youth.
Do I have Osteopenia?
There are no symptoms of Osteopenia and methods of bone density assessment are not without controversy. However, Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) is widely accepted as the most accurate tool for bone density assessment. The WHO’s Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) is often used to determine the risk of suffering an Osteoporosis-related fracture within the next ten years. See tool on this page.
There are several health and lifestyle issues that can significantly speed up loss of bone density and these include:
- Menopausal changes.
- Eating disorders and low metabolism, which prevent vitamin and mineral absorption.
- Exposure to Radiation.
- Chemotherapy and use of steroids.
- Limited exercise.
- Alcohol Consumption.
- Cola drinks.
- Genetic predisposition to Osteopenia.
- Dietary deficiencies in Calcium or Vitamin D.
Can Osteopenia be reversed?There is much debate about whether Osteopenia can be reversed. Medical treatment includes the use of bisphosphonates, however, there is growing evidence that natural treatments are safer and more effective. While there’s still no consensus as to whether Osteopenia can be reversed, it most certainly can be arrested or, at the very least, retarded with a healthy diet that is rich in Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium and Vitamin D to improve Calcium absorption.
Luckily for all of us, we can get some of these from diets and by supplementing to make up for what is lacking in our diet. Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D it in response to exposure to sunshine, and last but not least, weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking and dancing help build stronger bones. When you add all these together it is clear that your bones are sending you a message – get out there and exercise! And remember to eat healthy foods that are high in the nutrients your bones need – dairy products, green vegetables, seafood, whole grains, and legumes.
Osteopenia – for most people it is simply a normal part of the ageing process but for all of us, it is an opportunity to make healthy lifestyle changes and to lend your body a hand by taking the right supplements for healthy bones. If you’re concerned about the health of your bones, taking Bone Support is the ideal way of making sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that you need for better bone health.
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