Frequently asked bone thinning questions:
What is bone thinning? The medical term for this condition is Osteopenia. And Osteopenia occurs after we start losing too much bone.
Now "losing bone" is an odd phrase. It does not mean that your bones get shorter - though you might lose some height if the bones in your spine are so thin that they begin to break down with what is called 'crush fractures'. But let's get clear about what we mean when we say 'we lose bone'.
Your bones are made up of living tissue - just as your skin and your heart is. Bone, like all living things is constantly being renewed. New bone tissue is formed by cells called Osteoblasts Other cells called, Osteoclasts , remove old tissue.
Children and young people normally have Osteoblasts that are much more active than their Osteoclasts, That is why their bones grow longer and then as they move into their late teens and early twenties their bones stop growing longer. Instead they begin to thicken.
Around the age of 33 – 35 the balance shifts. Our Osteoclasts (removers of old bone) become more active than our Osteoblasts (builders of new bone). As a result over time our bodies begin to remove more skeletal tissue than they make and slowly but surely we experience bone thinning.
It is usual to lose 1 - 2% of bone each year. Women may lose 4-5% a year right after menopause but over time that loss slows down to the usual 1 - 2%.
Of course there are many things that can increase bone loss after age 35, just as there are things that can interfere with building a solid bone base before age 35. Actually there are over 50 things than interfere. At the end of this page you will find a link to CAUSES OF OSTEOPENIA if you want to see if you haveany of them.
As your bones become thin, it is easier to have a fractures. Recent research shows that those with Osteopenia suffer fractures at the same rate as those with Osteoporosis when they fall. (Those with Osteoporosis can also experience ‘spontaneous fractures’ when they put weight or even mild stress on their bones.)
First you need an accurate diagnosis.
There are many different tests that can detect these conditions.To see the whole list go to: Bone density tests .
Dexa scans are often used for diagnosis in Canada and the United States. If you want information about this particular test click on Bone thinning diagnosis with dexa scans.
This entire web site is dedicated to giving you the information you need to strengthen your bones and rebuild bone mineral density. If you want to keep up with the latest research, you can subscribe to our free monthly newsletter Osteopenia Newsletter