I decided to write this article after recently reading a post in the forum section of PTONTHENET on training clients with Osteopenia and Osteoporosis.  Both of these conditions predominantly effect women, typically aged 50+.  However this is not to say that men and women younger than this.  Osteopenia is diagnosed when an individual has a T score between -1 and -2.5 on a DEXA scan.  Osteoporosis is when an individual has a T score equal or less than -2.5.

How is bone density assessed?

Bone density can be assessed by undergoing a DEXA scan.  The results of a DEXA scan can then be categorized as

Normal: A bone BMD is considered normal if the T-score is within 1 standard deviation of the normal young adult value.  A score of between 0 and -1 is considered a normal result.

Low bone mass (osteopenia):  A score of between -1 and -2.5 indicates an increased fracture risk.

Osteoporosis: A BMD greater than 2.5 standard deviations from the normal (T score less than or equal to -2.5) defines osteoporosis.

Who typically suffers from poor bone density?

Individuals will often suffer from osteopenia and osteoporosis due to hormonal changes, often in menopausal women or in individuals with poor diets or lack of Vitamin D.

The following are a list of risk factors for Osteoporosis.

  • personal history of fracture as an adult,
  • history of fracture in first-degree relative,
  • low body weight or thin body stature,
  • advanced age,
  • current cigarette smoking,
  • use of corticosteroid therapy for more than three months,
  • impaired vision,
  • estrogen deficiency at early age,
  • dementia,
  • poor health/frailty,
  • recent falls,
  • lifelong low calcium intake,
  • low physical activity,
  • alcohol intake of more than two drinks/day,
  • thyroid disease,
  • rheumatoid arthritis,
  • excessive caffeine consumption, and
  • use of oral contraceptive (birth control pills).

Sourced:  http://www.medicinenet.com/bone_density_scan/page3.htm

Can Exercise Help Improve Bone Density?

Strength training that involves training above 70% of 1RM, training at least 2* week for greater than 12 months can have a positive effect on ones bone density.  It is important that the exercises include lower limb, core and upper body to enable a general overall conditioning of the body as well as help with increasing bone density.

Low volume aerobic activities have also been shown to be helpful with increasing bone density.  It is important to track the mileage so to avoid overuse and possibly a negative effect on the body.

For more information on improving bone density with exercise, please check out the following article link.  Click here.

Osteopath Heath Williams is owner and director of Principle Four Osteopathy, one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathy clinics.  Osteopath Heath Williams has a Masters in Osteopathy, as well as being a Level 1 Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Coach and Functional Movement System certified practitioner.  To find out more about Principle Four Osteopathy, please check out www.principlefourosteopathy.com.

Services include:  Osteopathy, Functional Movement Screening, Rehabilitation, Exercise Prescription and Ergonomic Assessments.

Principle Four Osteopathy is located at 29 Somerset Place, Melbourne City CBD 3000.  Book an appointment by calling 03 9670 9290 or online @ www.principlefourosteopathy.com



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