Ostropenia is a condition in which the bones thin down while osteoporosis refers to loss of bone mass. The level of calcium differs in both these conditions. The condition by itself is not very risky, but it is an indicator for probable development of osteoporosis. This occurs in people aged 50 years and above.
Osteoporosis is caused by deficiency in minerals like vitamin-D, calcium and magnesium essential for bone building. Early onset of this disorder can cause many problems like humped back, stooped posture, pain and loss in height. While almost 10 million women in the US suffer from osteoporosis, almost 34 million people suffer from osteopenia which puts them at a high risk of contracting osteoporosis.
A test called ‘Bone Mineral Density-BMD’ assists in diagnosing if the condition resulting from calcium deficiency in the bones is osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Ostepenia can be diagnosed using radiographs. For BMD, and osteoporosis, a test called ‘DEXA - Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry’ - is used. Here, X-rays with lesser energy are used to scan the bones to assess the levels of calcium.
Although both the disorders occur due to ageing, some precautions that should be taken to maintain healthy bones are:
- Diet with adequate levels of minerals like vitamins C, K and D, calcium, and magnesium.
- Regular exercising especially weight bearing exercises like walking, jogging, and light aerobics.
- Abstinence from excess alcohol and smoking.
- Regular check ups of the health of bones to monitor loss of bone, especially in people aged 50 years and above.
- Supplementing with drugs to improve bone health if any deficiency is detected.
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