What does osteopenia of the hip mean?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I have osteopenia of the hip”? You might be thinking, “wow, that sounds serious”, but fear not – this condition isn’t as intimidating as it may sound. Let’s dive in and explore what exactly osteopenia of the hip means.

What is Osteopenia?

Osteopenia is a fancy medical word that describes bone mineral density (BMD) that is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. In other words, if your bones were graded like an exam paper, osteopenia would put you on a borderline pass/fail scale.

Turns out our bones are students too!

To understand how we get to this stage, let’s quickly look at how our bodies maintain regular BMD:

  • Bone growth: When we’re young and growing (nostalgic sigh), our bodies produce new bone faster than old bone can break down.
  • Peak BMD: By age 30-ish (note I said ‘ish’, as for some people it might happen sooner or later), we reach peak BMD. After that point, new bone production slows down and older bones start breaking down (bummer).
  • Maintaining healthy levels: Ideally post-age 30-ish (or whenever peak BDM kicks in for you), we want to keep up with maintaining healthy levels by staying active and consuming enough nutrients & vitamins necessary (good advice typically given by mom)

When any part of this lovely cycle gets disrupted – like when one turns vegan without accounting for important vitamin intake– there might be risks such as developing low bone density which eventually could lead to fractures.

How are Bone Mineral Density Tests Performed?

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia it probably started with taking a test called DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), which measures your BMD. psst…it’s like an x-ray that scans the density level in certain bones.

The DXA scan scores are measured using T-scores to compare against population averages (or sometimes Z-scores, when our height or weight might put us out of range). The T-score tells you how far above or below average you fall:

  • Between +1 and -1 is considered normal
  • Between -1 and -2.5 is considered osteopenia
  • Below -2.5 is classified as osteoporosis

So in summary, think of it like this: Osteopenia means your bone density test results were similar to getting a ‘C+’ on a math final (#relatable).

The Hip Bones Conundrum

We now have a clearer understanding about what Osteopenia really refers to but why specifically mention the hip bones? (drum-roll please…)

Our hip bones are some of the largest within our skeletal systemsand thus carries higher levels of mass than other minor parts such as hands/fingers

It’s also important because falls onto one’s hips can lead to fractures due to low bone mineral densities! According to statistics available from American Bone Health group, 90% cases related with Hip Fractures occur for individuals aged 65 years and above ! #notetoself Imma start doing those squat thrusts my trainer asked me too!

Reducing falls isn’t just important for those who already suffer from Osteopenia/Osteporsis..when we all hit golden ages (wink wink) being cautious should be even more emphasized!

How Can You Improve Your Bone Density?

When diagnosed with osteopenia there are a few actions one could take:

Get More Vitamin D & Calcium(ya know..by making friends with dairy products)

Consuming calcium rich foods such as yogurt, cheese and spinach can help towards fortifying the bones. Vitamin D helps in absorption of these nutrients —can be attained by consuming dairy products but also by achieving exposure to sunlight!

Strength Training(pump it up)

Muscle cells stimulate bone formation — so doing exercises that put stress on your bones may stimulate bone-building cells! Don’t forget those weight-bearing extras like walking, jogging or even climbing stairs which are especially helpful when related to improving BMD around the hip.

Quit Smoking(!surprisey-surprise!)

Smoking doesn’t just effect lungs – The habit has been documented as leading to bone trouble too ! Studies conducted have shown links between among Smoking & Low-Bone Mass density. One of many reasons why we say NOPE TO DOPE !!

In conclusion with simple measures one could improve their overall health & avoid potential issues regarding osteopenia of hips leading down a path that might be difficult!(that is unless you’re like me who could break their hip literally from standing up…but let’s not go there)

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