Catherine Burt Driver, MD
Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Osteopenia facts
- What is osteopenia?
- Osteopenia vs. osteoporosis
- Osteopenia vs. osteomalacia
- What risk factors and causes of osteopenia?
- What are osteopenia symptoms and signs?
- Why is osteopenia important?
- When should someone see a doctor for osteopenia?
- What types of specialists treat osteopenia?
- What tests do health care professionals use to diagnose osteopenia?
- Who should be tested for osteopenia?
- What is the treatment for osteopenia?
- Is there a recommended diet for people with osteopenia?
- What follow-up is needed after treatment of osteopenia has been initiated?
- Is it possible to prevent osteopenia?
- Is osteopenia reversible?
- What is the prognosis of osteopenia?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Is it possible to prevent osteopenia?
The best way to prevent osteopenia is by living healthfully. In regard to osteopenia, prevention includes ensuring adequate calcium intake either through diet or supplements, ensuring adequate vitamin D intake, not drinking too much alcohol (no more than two drinks daily), not smoking, and getting plenty of exercise. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, lifting light weights, or doing push-ups, is the most effective exercise for preventing and treating bone loss. This is because this type of exercise signals to the bones to become stronger.
For most people, prescription medications are not necessary to prevent osteopenia. However, some people taking certain medications (such as prednisone or other steroids) for more than a few months may need to take prescription medication to prevent bone loss.
Is osteopenia reversible?
Infrequently, osteopenia can normalize on follow-up testing. This is more common in certain situations, such as when only mild osteopenia on the initial bone density test. When mild osteopenia is caused by significant vitamin D deficiency, and the vitamin D deficiency is treated, then the osteopenia may reverse. Another example is when osteopenia is caused by malabsorption from celiac sprue, and the celiac sprue is treated, then osteopenia often improves.
These specific examples apply to a minority of people with osteopenia. Usually, osteopenia does not reverse, but with the proper treatment, the bone density can stabilize and the risk for a bone fracture improves.
What is the prognosis of osteopenia?
Frequently, bone loss can be slowed or stabilized with lifestyle changes or medication if necessary. In some situations, bone loss may continue due to hormonal factors, medical conditions, or medications. Examples of these situations may be untreated celiac sprue, untreated or resistant rheumatoid arthritis, and treatment with steroid medication such as prednisone used for another medical condition.
Katz, Seymour. "Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis." Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y) 9.3 Mar. 2013: 176-178.
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