What is Osteopenia and How can it be Prevented?
Mid-age marks the onset of many health problems. One of them is the loss of bone mineral density (BMD) that weakens the bones. Medically, it is termed osteopenia. It is more common in people beyond 50, particularly women. Osteopenia does not show any signs or symptoms. But you can detect it through a bone strength test. You can also prevent osteopenia through various measures including lifestyle changes as well. Let’s explore more about osteopenia and some ways to prevent it.
What is Osteopenia?
Osteopenia involves the loss of bone mineral density (BMD). Lower BMD signifies fewer minerals in your bones than required. The condition weakens the bones and is more common in people above 50, those with poor nutrition and women after menopause.
Is osteopenia the same as osteoporosis? No. Osteopenia isn’t as severe as osteoporosis, in which bones become fragile. However, in some cases, osteopenia could graduate to osteoporosis. Although it doesn’t happen in all cases, it may happen in a few.
One of the keys to prevent it from happening is strengthening and protecting the bones. Additionally, a BMD test can help monitor bone health and prevent osteopenia.
Causes of Osteopenia
Bones comprise living tissues. Up to 30, healthy people build more bones than they lose. But after 35, bones break faster than they build. Some reasons that could trigger quicker bone loss than normal include hormonal changes after menopause, hyperthyroidism, poor nutrition (particularly the deficiency of vitamin D or calcium), lifestyle habits like excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, excessive caffeine, or lack of physical activity.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteopenia
Osteopenia does not show any signs of symptoms until it worsens and transforms into osteoporosis. In rare cases, osteopenia patients may experience pain in the bones or weakness. Doctors usually detect the condition after conducting a BMD test.
How to Prevent Osteopenia?
Some generic measures to prevent osteopenia include the following.
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Regular exercising, like jogging, walking and activities that help you bear your own weight
- Maintaining doctor-prescribed intake of calcium and vitamin D
- Giving your body adequate exposure to the sun to absorb vitamin D into the bloodstream
- Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet with fruits, vegetables and essential nutrition
Things to Remember While Suffering from Osteopenia
If you’ve been detected with osteopenia, you can take care of yourself through various measures, some of which include the following.
- Having ample lighting in the home
- Removing tripping hazards like small furniture, rugs turning up at the corners, etc.
- Using non-skid rugs on floors
- Installing railings on stairs and near showers
Regular tests and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you keep away from various health conditions, including those related to bones. Visit Ranka Hospital if you want to know more about osteopenia and receive specific consultation for your condition. Call us at +91 20 2426 1600 to book an appointment with our doctors.