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Thursday, December 12, 2013
Osteopenia or Osteoporosis
I am 50 years old and the Dr. found out the other day that I have osteopenia. Well I knew back in 1990 I have a touch of Osteoporosis. They showed me the exrays and my spine is curved pretty bad. I have no idea what this is all about. As far as I know it is a fact that my bones do not have enough strenght. Could you let me know more about this. I was in a wreck and just about all my bones were broke. This wreck was back in 1978. Please let me know about this when you can, thank you very much.
The word osteopenia has confused many people. It simply describes a category in between normal and osteoporosis. These categories have numbers attached to them on the bone density reports. The number is the T-score which compares your bone density to that of a healthy young woman. The categories are as follows:
- Normal: -1 and above
- Osteopenia: -1 to -2.5
- Osteoporosis: -2.5 and lower
Some experts have even proposed eliminating the word osteopenia and calling everything normal down to -2, calling -2 to -2.5 "thin bone" and leaving osteoporosis at -2.5 and lower. I support that concept because too many women are getting frightened unnecessarily.
At a T-score of -2 most people can consider using a medication. Everyone else should follow a healthy lifestyle of exercise, adequate calcium intake, vitamin D, not smoking, etc. People with a T-score above -2 and other risk factors for fracture can also consider taking medication. Those factors can be reviewed with your physician.
Curvature of the spine is a different problem and would need to be discussed with you physician as to the severity of it and what can be done.
Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati