What is it?
A measurement of how dense the bones are is bone density. Low bone density refers to bone density that is lower than the normal density or the density it should be. But not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Having this condition means there is a higher risk that, as time passes, you may develop bone density that is very low. This is known as osteoporosis.
Since the existing bone cells are reabsorbed by the body faster than new bone is made as you grow older, the bones naturally become thinner. As this occurs
- the bones lose minerals
- they lose heaviness (mass)
- also lose structure
- become weaker
- have a higher risk of breaking
The bone mass loss takes place after they reach peak bone density at about age of 30 years. The thicker your bones are at about age 30, the longer it takes to develop low bone density or osteoporosis.
It is not necessary that some people who have low bone density have bone loss. They may just naturally have a lower bone density. Low bone density may be the result of other conditions, disease processes, or treatments. There is a higher possibility that women develop low bone density and osteoporosis than men. This is because women have a lower peak bone density and because the loss of bone mass speeds up as hormonal changes take place at the time of menopause.
The following increase the risk for low bone density and, eventually, osteoporosis –
- Having a family history of osteoporosis
- Being thin
- Being white or Asian
- Getting limited physical activity
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also
What are the symptoms?
There are no symptoms for this. You won’t notice any sort of pain or change as the bone becomes thinner. Though as the bone becomes less dense, the risk of breaking a bone increases.
How is low bone density diagnosed?
Low bone density is diagnosed with –
- Either a bone density test. This is done to check if you have osteoporosis.
- Or the most accurate test of bone density which is dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) that can detect as little as 2% of bone loss per year.
How is it treated?
The food you eat is very important when it comes to bone development. Calcium is an important mineral for bone mass. Best sources of calcium include milk and other dairy products, green vegetables, and calcium-enriched products. The doctor may also want you to take a calcium supplement, often combined with vitamin D which helps your body absorb calcium and other minerals. This supplement is added to milk. Also, can be taken in calcium and vitamin supplements. Furthermore, exercise is equally important for having strong bones. Good exercise choices are weight-bearing exercises such as walking, hiking, and dancing. Using equipment such as light weights or elastic bands to exercise can help the bones in the upper body. In addition to diet and exercise, one must completely stop smoking, and have limited use of alcohol will also reduce your risk of bone loss.
The following video talks about the treatment –