Osteopenia is a condition of lower than normal bone mineral density (BMD) that has a T score between -1 and -2.5 on a bone density test-also known as a DXA or DEXA scan. Osteopenia may be a precursor of osteoporosis (which occurs with even lower bone density) but it does necessarily mean that bone loss will continue. It is normal to lose some bone density as we age although a rapid loss is a serious warning sign that something is out of balance.
Rather than experiencing osteopenia symptoms, most people discover they have osteopenia during a medical check-up. It is recommended that women have a baseline bone density scan when they reach perimenopause (menstrual irregularity occurring usually between 45 and 55) or earlier if they are at risk from the use of certain medications. Men should request a bone density test at age 70 or earlier if using corticosteroids or prostate cancer drugs.
Our bones will have lost a significant amount of density before we experience any clear osteopenia symptoms. But once our bones approach levels closer to osteoporosis, we may experience the following warning signs:
Dull pain in the bones or muscles, particularly in the lower back or neck
Severe back pain if the spine is fractured or collapsed
Loss of height due to spinal compression fractures, with an accompanying stooped posture
Fracture of the vertebrae, wrists, hips or other bones
As bone loss continues, sharp pains may arrive suddenly and increase with activity that puts weight on the affected area. The pain generally begins to subside in one week but may linger for three months or longer.
With continued bone loss, fractures of the spine (vertebra) can cause severe band-like pain that radiates from the back to the side of the body. Over the years, repeated spine fractures can cause chronic lower back pain as well as loss of height or curving of the spine, which give the individual a hunched-back appearance of the upper back, often called a dowager hump.
Rather than wait for osteoporosis symptoms, a bone density test can provide an excellent measure of our bone health so that we can take steps to prevent further deterioration. Fortunately, research shows that proper diet, supplements, exercise and sometimes medication can halt and even reverse osteopenia.
For information on an affordable supplement program that helps to treat osteopenia symptoms as well as reinforce the benefits of prescription medication...visit http://www.osteoporosis-vitamins.com/osteoporosis-treatment-guidelines.html.
Darlene Varaleau is a lawyer and business person by profession. After being diagnosed with osteopenia, she developed http://osteoporosis-vitamins.com to explore natural osteoporosis treatment options. The site provides information on affordable calcium and vitamin supplements, strontium, progesterone cream and exercise. She loves getting suggestions for improving the site, so please drop by for a visit.