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August 2020 Mall Walker Newsletter

                                         Osteoporosis or Osteopenia?


The term osteoporosis, which means “porous bone,” indicates a severe loss in bone density. With osteoporosis, bones are fragile and weak and can break easily. Osteopenia also is a condition of decreased bone density, but it’s not as extreme as osteoporosis, and the risk of fracture is much less.


The risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis increases with the hormonal changes of menopause and aging (in both women and men), inadequate calcium and vitamin D, smoking, excessive alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, a family history of fracture, a thin frame, steroid medications, and diseases such as celiac sprue and rheumatoid arthritis. To reduce your risk, perform weight-bearing exercises, get enough calcium and vitamin D, quit smoking and limit alcohol.


A DEXA scan is used to evaluate bone density and diagnose osteopenia or osteoporosis. While osteopenia doesn’t usually require treatment with osteoporosis prescription medications―which have potentially significant side-effects―some of those drugs can be prescribed to prevent the progression from osteopenia to osteoporosis.


Talk with your doctor. Discuss your risk factors and DEXA scan results. Find out if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, how much calcium and vitamin D you need, and what you can do to prevent bone loss or bone fracture.

August 2020