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Osteopenia refers to the weakened state of bone due to decreased bone density. Having osteopenia is a direct indicator of poor bone health and that treatment should be considered to improve bone health prior to the occurrence of significant fractures. Medication is not always the cookie cutter treatment of osteopenia. Most often, dietary and lifestyle modifications can assist in increasing bone health and bone density.



What is the difference between osteoporosis and osteopenia?

Osteoporosis occurs when the quality of the bone becomes porous and soft. Some predisposing factors to developing osteoporosis and osteopenia are having a history of fractures, prolonged corticosteroid use, and being a post-menopausal woman. Other risk factors include your family history, body frame size, dietary factors, and lifestyle choices. When a bone has reached an osteoporotic state, more aggressive treatment options should be considered.



Both conditions should be diagnosed by a specialist using a DEXA scan to determine the bodies bone mineral density (BMD). Typical testing sites include the hip, spine, and the wrist given these are the most common fracture sites for those with osteoporosis and osteopenia. Those with fractures over the age of 50, women 65 years and older, and men 70 years and older are all in the age-related risk group for both conditions and should consider obtaining a DEXA scan to determine bone health.


Treatments for Osteopenia

Treatments for osteopenia include increasing weight-bearing exercises, smoking cessation, limiting alcohol intake, and daily supplementation or dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D. Prescription medications are also available that could help slow the loss of bone mass, maintain bone density, or stimulate new bone growth . Osteopenia is a reversible condition and bone health can normalize following lifestyle and dietary modifications.



Treatments for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis treatments are typically recommended based on the risk of sustaining a fracture within a 10 year period. The same treatment for osteopenia could be considered for managing osteoporosis depending on the results of a DEXA scan and the progression of the bones state of wear. Kansas City Bone and Joint offers a Bone Health Clinic to help identify and manage bone conditions of all severities. Our team of dedicated professionals work directly with the patients to develop a care plan best suited to their needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment!



By: By: Riki Duncan, MA. Ed, ATC, LAT