Borderline osteopenia is a condition that signals bone mineral density (BMD) is lower than normal but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. Early treatment through lifestyle changes can help strengthen bones and keep osteoporosis at bay.
People begin to lose bone mineral density around the age of 30, with women losing bone mass at a much higher rate when they reach middle age. When bones lose minerals and mass, they are more susceptible to breaking.
Bone loss can be the result of existing conditions, diseases and treatments and lifestyle choices. Smoking, limited physical activity, drinking cola drinks or too much alcohol can increase the risk of osteopenia. Women who are thin, white or Asian, and men or women with a family history of osteoporosis are at risk for bone loss.
Osteopenia and osteoporosis both refer to bone loss and are not diseases. A well-balanced diet rich in calcium and physical activity early in life can help slow and prevent bone loss after the age of 30.
Treatment for osteopenia involves lifestyle changes to help build bone mass. These include performing weight-bearing exercise, eating a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, quitting smoking and reducing consumption of alcohol and colas.
A BMD test is the only way to measure bone mass and the risk for developing osteopenia, which eventually leads to the significant bone loss of osteoporosis. The test can help your doctor determine the best course of action to improve bone mass.