Published: Thu, February 09, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Osteopenia vs. Osteoporosis: What's the Difference?

Osteopenia vs. Osteoporosis: What's the Difference?

Strong bones are an important component of your overall health and well being. If you have weak bones, you are at a greater risk of injury from falls, which could lead to life-threatening complications. It becomes even more important to have strong, dense bones as you get older because you naturally lose some bone density over time. Two related bone density diseases are osteopenia and osteoporosis. Most people have heard about osteoporosis, but osteopenia gets less pressure, even though it has similar risk factors.

Luckily, prevention and maintenance of both osteopenia and osteoporosis can be as easy as eating a healthy and nutritious diet, A process you can get started by signing up for this course. Additionally, osteopenia and osteoporosis are associated with low bone density.

What is Bone Density?

, Which is the measurement of the density and strength of bones. As people age, bones naturally become thinner. Around middle age, the existing bone cells become reabsorbed by the body faster than any new bone cell growth. The bones begin to lose minerals, mass and structure. This weakens the bones, which increases the person's risk of injury and fracture. Peak bone density typically occurs around age 30. After that, people naturally begin to lose bone mass. The thicker and stronger your bones are at age 30, the longer it takes to lose enough bone density to be diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis.

What is Osteopenia?

Some people develop osteopenia due to other factors than just natural bone loss. Some people naturally have a lower bone density than the optimum, normal levels. Osteopenia might also develop due to other diseases, such as eating disorders, digestive or metabolic problems, or malabsorption problems, as well as the treatment for diseases, including certain medications, chemotherapy, or radiation. It is very important that someone with osteopenia implements diet and lifestyle changes to prevent the development of osteoporosis.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when a person Has a very low bone density that significantly increases his or her risk of fracture. A person will be diagnosed with osteoporosis if he or she has a bone mineral density of -2.5 or higher. When you have osteoporosis, the bones can be so weak and brittle that they fall, bending over, or even coughing can cause the bones to fracture. The most at-risk bones for fracture are the hip, wrist and spine. Breaking a bone, especially in the elderly, can lead to dangerous consequences. For example, twenty percent of seniors who break a hip die within one year due to complications related to the broken bone or the reparation surgery. Those who survive often need long-term nursing home care.

What are the Symptoms?

Osteopenia has no symptoms, and its typically diagnosed through a bone Density test done to screen for osteoporosis among those at risk. The early stages of bone loss do not have any symptoms. However, once again, it is important to note that there is a risk that a person may have a higher risk of death. Of Developing Osteopenia or Osteoporosis?

The best way to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis is to eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, especially when young. Other essential nutrients for bone health include phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K, chromium, silica, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, potassium, strontium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, B9, and B12, and vitamin C. Protein is also important for Maintaining strong bones.

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Weight bearing exercises such as running, weight lifting, walking, and dancing also strengthen bones and prevents osteoporosis. Limiting the alcohol and tobacco use, as well as soda consumption, also decrease your risk. If you have a gastrointestinal disorder or an eating disorder, you should be careful to ensure you get enough nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D. Thyroid problems can also lead to bone density problems, so it is essential to properly manage thyroid condition. How to Treat Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

If you have a mild form of osteopenia , Then your doctor will probably recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to prevent any further bone density loss, including by implementing a weight-bearing exercise program. If you have more bone density or are diagnosed with osteoporosis, you might be prescribed medicine, the most widely prescribed of which are bisphosphonates, such as Fosmax, Binosoto, Actonel, and Boniva. These medications do have some minor side effects, so they should be taken as directed and you should stay in contact with your doctor about any adverse effects.

You can make lifestyle changes to prevent bone loss, even if you are at high risk of developing osteoporosis or osteopenia. It is never too late to implement changes to strengthen your bones. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is one of the most important changes you can make for your bone health.

A plant-based diet rich in vitamins and minerals not only can keep your bones Healthy, it can also prevent and treat other common diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Cutting out or significantly limiting soda intake, alcohol consumption and tobacco will likewise benefit your bone-and-health overall. In addition to diet, exercise is essential to maintaining your bone health. If you do not currently exercise, it is never too late to start. You can find an exercise program that will ease you into a regular regime. You need to at least some weight bearing exercises, such as walking, running, or weight lifting.

You do not have to be alone when doing these lifestyle changes. You can find a local health club that will support you and answer your questions. You can also take a course on nutrition and exercise to learn what you need to know to be healthy and have strong, healthy bones.

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