Bone loss leading to an increased risk of fracture is called osteopenia and osteoporosis. To define the difference, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined these based on a T-score that is obtained on Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests. The more negative the number, the worse the degree of bone loss. A T-score of -2.5 or less is osteoporosis. -2.0 to -2.4 is Severe osteopenia, -1.5 to -1.9 is moderate osteopenia, and -1.0 to -1.4 is mild.
To further the diagnosis and find the cause of the bone loss, another lab is ordered to include a 24-hour urine collection and blood work.
Patients with a history of steroid use, smoking, increased alcohol intake, a family history of hip fracture, a history of pathologic fractures, and menopause will be at increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Thin, Caucasian women are also at greater risk, as well as carbonated beverage users.
Treatment is aimed at taking a modest amount of calcium supplementation along with Vitamin D and other bone builders. A diet high in calcium is recommended, preferably in the form of dark green leafy vegetables. Weight bearing exercise is advised daily. Finally, medication will likely be advised if osteoporosis is present or if an FRAX score shows a 10-year risk of fracture to be over 20% or a hip fracture risk in 10 years over 3%.
At Frisco Gyn and Wellness, a variety of bone healthy supplements are available for use. We recommend a consultation to discuss your BMD results, and we advise they be done about every 24 months after age 50. If on medication, we may advise yearly BMDs.