Fragility Factors: Risks and Prevention

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about fragility fractures along with the risks and prevention factors for women as they age.

What are osteoporosis and osteopenia?

Dr. Jennifer Jerele talks about diagnosing and treating osteoporosis and osteopenia. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What are osteoporosis and osteopenia?

The best way to diagnose osteoporosis or osteopenia is with a DEXA Scan. That's something your orthopedic surgeon or your family practice physician can order for you, and basically, a DEXA Scan is the most reliable way with the least amount of radiation to measure your bone density. It takes different images of your spine, and your hip and compares that against the bone density in a normal 25 year old. It gives you something called a T-score. Your T-score will put you on that spectrum of the osteoporosis or osteopenia. If you get a T-score between 1 and a 2.5 which measures the standard deviation of your bone density compared to that normal person, that puts you in that range of osteopenia. If it's anything less than 2.5, a standard deviation below a normal bone density, then you're in that category of osteoporosis and that's when you should really be started on some sort of treatment, or therapy for it.

   

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. Osteopenia refers to bone mass that is lower than your peak bone mass but not yet low enough to be considered osteoporosis.

The best way to diagnose osteoporosis or osteopenia is with a DEXA scan. That's something your orthopedic surgeon or family physician can order for you. A DEXA scan is the most reliable way to measure your bone density with the least amount of radiation. It takes images of your spine and hip and compares then to the bone density in a normal 25-year-old. It gives you a T-score that measures the standard deviation of your bone density compared to a normal person. Your T-score will put you on the spectrum of osteoporosis or osteopenia. If you get a T-score between -1 and -2.5, that puts you in that range of osteopenia. If it's anything less than -2.5, you're in the category of osteoporosis. That's when you should really be started on some sort of treatment or therapy.

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Source: Jennifer Jerele, MD, Premier Orthopedics