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Osteopenia - Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Osteopenia Medications, Tests and Lifestyle Changes


Updated January 29, 2009

Osteopenia is a loss of bone mineral density that is often linked to aging and menopause. Osteopenia itself is not usually a problem, but it could lead to osteoporosis. There are treatments and medications for osteopenia, but it gets complicated. To make a good decision, learn about the medication options as well as lifestyle changes you can make to slow bone loss. Standard screening guides and ways are available to help you figure out if you might need osteopenia drug treatment.

1. Osteopenia Diagnosis, Testing and Screening

Bones - Foot Bones
Photo: Sami Sarkis / Getty Images
Osteopenia can be diagnosed using a simple test that measures your bone mineral density. As people age, their bone mineral density lessens. If it gets very low, a person is diagnosed with osteoporosis. If it gets somewhat low, they are said to have osteopenia. There are standard screening guidelines for who should get a bone mineral density scan as well as known risk factors for both osteoporosis and osteopenia. Anyone concerned about the health of their bones should read the basics on osteopenia.

2. Osteopenia Treatment and Medications

pills and needles
Photo: John Foxx / Getty Images
Osteopenia can be treated with drugs that are approved for preventing osteoporosis. However, these drugs have side effects and many people are diagnosed with osteopenia at a fairly young age (typically after menopause). This means that a person given medications for osteopenia cold be on those medications for decades. Because of this, there is controversy about who should be taking medications to treat osteopenia. Find out more about the osteopenia medication options and considerations.

3. Osteopenia Prevention and Management

Milk - A Good Source of Calcium
Photo: Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images
Osteopenia can be managed and the risk of developing osteoporosis reduced through some changes in diet and lifestyle. The idea here is to build nice thick bones while you are young and continue to stimulate them throughout your life while providing the necessary nutrients (like calcium) for bone health. Try to work bone health into your diet and exercise programs to slow the development of osteopenia and reduce your risk for osteoporosis.

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