You may be familiar with osteoporosis, but you do know what osteopenia is?
To find out what it is, and how you can prevent it Eyewitness News spoke with Doctor Amy Grace at Little Falls Hospital. Osteoporosis is the slight loss of bone density.Osteopeniais a more significant loss of bone density.
Osteopenia and osteoporosistypically have no symptoms, they are painless until you break a bone and then it is very painful and there is a lot of damage to correct. "Osteoporosis increases the risk of a spontaneous fracture, of the hip or spine. Those can be very painful and it will hurt your quality of life," says Dr. Grace.
Those who are most at risk for developing osteopenia and later osteoporosis are women over 65, who have been through menopause. Some men are at risk with certain health conditions. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or if you have fair skin or you are a smoker you could be at a higher risk. Dr. Grace says a simple test can tell you more, " It can be diagnosed with a bone density scan, of the lower back and hip. At that point we either are going to increase calcium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise or are we going to give a prescription to prevent the progression of osteoporosis.
To prevent osteoporosisyou want to increase your vitamin D intake. If you are a smoker, quit smoking and doctors recommend weight bearing exercises that can be as simple as walking.
Some foods to add to your grocery list: dairy products that are rich in calcium like milk (which is fortified in vitamin D) also broccoli, spinach and white beans are good sources. Taking those steps early in life can help keep your bones strong as you age.
You can also take supplements but doctors recommend trying to get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.