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Osteoporosis

Osteopenia or Osteoporosis

03/10/2003

Question:

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.

Answer:

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:

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.

 

For more information:

Go to the Osteoporosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati