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What is Osteopenia? Know its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment methods

What is Osteopenia? Know its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment methods

16 March, 2022

Nowadays the problem of bones and joints is common everywhere whether it is in a village or city. This problem starts developing on its own with the lack of nutrients in the body or due to aging. Osteopenia is one such common bone related problem which, if ignored, can take the form of a serious health issue. Therefore, it is necessary to treat this condition in time or it may lead to osteoporosis. This problem was mostly seen in the elderly but nowadays due to modern lifestyle and food habits, this disease is taking its grip on the youth as well. Its effect is seen more in women than in men, especially those who are overweight.

Osteopenia is the loss of bone mineral density. This condition occurs when the body doesn't make new bones as quickly as it reabsorbs old bones. The bones of the body are made up of calcium, phosphorus, protein and many types of minerals but with modern lifestyle, wrong eating habits and aging, these minerals start to diminish. As a result, the density of bones starts decreasing and weakening.

Symptoms of Osteopenia

In the early stages of osteopenia, there are no symptoms but when there is a lot of damage to the bones, its symptoms start appearing. These symptoms are as follows-

  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Extreme pain in the joints, severe back pain.
  • Feeling more pain after a minor injury.
  • Bending of the body.
  • Difficulty in walking.
  • Stiffness or swelling in the joints.
  • Fracture even in minor injuries.
  • Failing to lift heavy weights.

Causes of Osteopenia

There are many reasons for osteopenia, the main ones being the following-

Aging-

According to researchers, an important cause of the problem of osteopenia is aging because with age, the bones of the body keep breaking and new bones keep growing. But after 50 to 60 years, the bones start breaking faster instead of growing back. As a result, the bones become more fragile. During this age, this problem is more common in women because at this time there is a change in their hormonal level which leads to low bone density.

Low estrogen levels-

Generally, low estrogen levels happens in women in menopause, so in this condition women's bones start losing their density.

Genes-

Some diseases are genetic which keep passing from one generation to another among the members of the family including osteopenia. If any family member has osteopenia, then there is a great possibility that it could pass to another generation in the family.

Lack of calcium and vitamins in the body-

The body needs all kinds of nutritious substances because these substances make the body healthy. It also contains calcium and vitamin D. Its main function is to strengthen the bones. Deficiency of calcium and vitamins in the body may lead to problems like osteopenia.

Other Causes of Osteopenia are-

  • Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Consuming more caffeine-rich substances.
  • Lack of protein in the body.
  • Decrease in physical activity.
  • Lack of exercising.
  • Cancer treatment therapy and rheumatoid arthritis.

Prevention of Osteopenia

  • Make changes in lifestyle.
  • Eat a nutritious diet.
  • Exercise and yoga should be part of daily routine.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid smoking and consumption of tobacco products.
  • Do not consume alcohol or alcoholic substances.
  • Keep your weight under control.
  • Get your health checked regularly.
  • Sit in the sunlight for some time every day.

Home remedies for Osteopenia

Broccoli is helpful-

By consuming broccoli, bones and body joints become strong because it is rich in vitamin-K, calcium and magnesium. These nutrients work to keep bones strong. Therefore, people who have weak bones and joints must include broccoli in their diet.

Spinach is beneficial-

Spinach is good for the strength of bones and the health of the tissues that make them up. It is a rich source of vitamins K, A, C and folate which provide nutrition to the body. According to researchers, the vitamin K present in it works to keep bones strong as well as improve their formation. Therefore, consuming spinach is beneficial to keep the problem of osteopenia away.

Apple cider vinegar is good-

The use of apple cider vinegar proves to be beneficial for health because it is rich in nutrients like calcium, potassium and magnesium. These nutrients are helpful in maintaining healthy bones. Therefore, apple cider vinegar proves to be effective for the treatment of osteopenia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Consumption of foods rich in vitamins-

Vitamins play an important role in the treatment and prevention of osteopenia. According to research published on the website of NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) vitamin-D increases the absorption of calcium in the intestines and also increases the density of bones and strengthens them. Therefore, we should consume foods rich in vitamins like cheese, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables etc. in our diet.

Triphala is beneficial-

According to Ayurveda, the consumption of Triphala is considered good for the treatment of bone-related problems. Triphala is made up of three Ayurvedic medicines Harad, Baheda and Amla which helps to protect the bones from damage and make them strong. It also has anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from increasing the collagen of bones, it helps in preventing osteopenia and arthritis.

Diagnosis of Osteopenia

Usually, to diagnose osteopenia, doctors recommend mainly two types of tests through which they check the bone density and the level of nutrients. These are as follows-

DEXA Scan -  Through this test, the doctor measures the tissue scale of the bones using X-ray beams. If the T-score of bone tissue ranges from 1 to 2.5, there may be a problem of osteopenia.

Lab Tests- To find out the level of calcium, phosphorus and many other minerals in the body, the doctor conducts serum and urine lab tests.

Treatment of Osteopenia

The following methods are used for the treatment of osteopenia-

Supplements-  Doctors recommend taking supplements to protect bones from damage and to make them strong. This includes calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Walking- According to researchers, walking every morning and evening also improves bone density. Therefore, in addition to supplements, doctors also recommend walking.

Hormone replacement therapy-This therapy is used to balance estrogen and progesterone levels in women during menopause.

Estrogen receptor modulators – In this therapy, estrogen levels are improved through drugs.

Anti-resorptive therapy-In this therapy, the bones are strengthened through medicines.

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