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                  For Your Health
                        By:  Julie Millican, RN

          

Is it osteoporosis or osteopenia? Osteopenia is when bone density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis which weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.  Bones lose density usually after the age of 30 and most often in women. Loss of bone mass speeds up as hormonal changes take place with menopause.  Chemotherapy, exposure to radiation, and metabolism problems are also causes.  Some medications, such as steroids, diets low in calcium or vitamin D, smoking, andinactivity can also contribute to decreased bone density.

A bone density test, which is noninvasive, will distinguish between osteopenia and osteoporosis.  Even through neither condition can be reversed, there are ways to slow or manage the problem.  Vitamin supplements, weight bearing exercises such as walking and light weights, and quitting smoking are effective in slowing down the process  Some medications such as bisphosphonates like Fosomax may also be used..

Many of the factors that cause osteopenia and osteoporosis have been determined in your past such as family history, past medications, and your diet as a child.  It is never too late to make lifestyle changes and to improve your quality of life. Discuss your options with doctor.  You are your best health advocate.

He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, He increaseth strength.    Isaiah 40:29