What is low bone density?
Low bone density (sometimes called osteopenia) refers to bone density that is lower than the normal peak density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Bone density is a measurement of how dense and strong the bones are. If your bone density is low compared to normal peak density, you are said to have low bone density. Having low bone density means there is a greater risk that, as time passes, you may develop bone density that is very low compared to normal. This condition is called osteoporosis.
How can you prevent osteoporosis if you have low bone density?
There are things you can do to help prevent osteoporosis. Certain lifestyle changes will help slow the loss of bone density.
- Eat food that has plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Yogurt, cheese, milk, and dark green vegetables are high in calcium. Eggs, fatty fish, cereal, and fortified milk are high in vitamin D.
- Ask your doctor if you need to take a calcium plus vitamin D supplement. You may be able to get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet.
- Get regular exercise. Do 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise on most days of the week. Walking, jogging, stair climbing, and dancing are good choices. Do resistance exercises with weights or elastic bands two or three days a week.
- Limit alcohol to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Too much alcohol can cause health problems.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can make bones thin faster. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
Prescription medicines are available for treating low bone density. But these are more often used to treat osteoporosis.
For more information on low bone density, email contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-355-0885. We are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise Inc. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor