2.26.2011

Osteopenia anyone?

A few weeks ago my doctor ordered a bone density test. The main indicators (besides some funny bone sounds I hear at times) were that I am female, thin-framed, athletic, white, and "low-weight" (FYI, my BMI is perfect for my height and age). The result, I have osteopenia.

I have never heard of osteopenia and naturally, my first response was oh no. How would you respond if you were just told you had some unknown health condition?

But as time has passed and I have done my research the oh no feeling has left. Osteopenia is a new condition recently (I believe around 1990) classified by the World Health Organization to help people have an understanding of their health and risk factors. You are diagnosed with osteopenia if your t-test from your bone density test is between 1.0 to 2.5. Essentially, it is a standard deviation test with the norm being a 30-old woman. By the way, if your t-test is greater than 2.5 you have osteoporosis.

So what does this all mean? Not much really since most of the population has osteopenia. Some doctors prescribe medications and I am happy my doctor doesn't go that route. It may not be necessary for all and just because I have osteopenia, I won't necessarily get osteoporosis.

So what am I doing? After reflecting on the potential causes I questioned if I should have had less soda and alcohol over the years or ate more calcium I decided I did nothing hugely wrong. I can't say I have ever had an unusual, restrictive diet but I did have low hormone levels during my pregnancy (so perhaps my hormone levels have always been low). It could be genetic but the truth of it all lies in one undeniable fact.

I am unfortunately getting older and the norm is a woman younger than me (therefore, one would imagine my calcium levels would be less). So am I doing nothing? Absolutely not! Instead of taking calcium supplements most days I am going to aim for all days. Instead of opting no to that added sour cream, I will say sure and opt for light or fat-free (there is 4% of my RDA), and I will commit to one glass of delicious fat-free milk each day (there is another 30%)!

And I will continue to set an example for my daughter to follow that includes activity, not just diet. I will continue to run and add additional weight-bearing exercise. And I will have fun!

Happy Running!

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