The osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by the presence of weak bones and fragile. It is a pathology associated with aging, although lack of vitamin D it is one of the main causes of the development of osteoporosis.
Thus, for a few years, thanks to densitometry we can measure calcium and other minerals in bones. In this sense, the World Health Organization (who) establishes three different measures of densitometry, known as normality, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
When the figure is between -1 and -2.5 standard deviations, the person is considered to have ‘osteopenia’. That is to say, a bone quality prone to derive in osteoporosis. However, values less than -2.5 standard deviations are already treated as’ osteoporosis.
Javier Calvo Catalá, Head of the Rheumatology and Bone Metabolism Service of the General University Hospital of Valencia offers some more explanations to ‘Infosalus’ about osteopenia, osteoporosis and how vitamin D influences bone health.
Vitamin D to prevent the development of osteoporosis
Dr. Calvo explains that when a densitometry test concludes with ‘osteopenia’ it is necessary to carry out a series of measures to prevent it from leading to the development of osteoporosis. This is when vitamin D levels become important.
«We will recommend a diet rich in dairy derivatives, exercise appropriate to each age, avoid toxic substances (alcohol, coffee and tobacco), and normalize the low levels of vitamin D that are so frequent in the population, adding other pharmacological measures where necessary, generally, calcium and vitamin D supplements ”, explains the specialist.
In the event that the rheumatologist suspects the presence of osteopenia, Dr. Calvo argues that it is necessary to assess different risk factors that can cause low bone mass. Among the factors that influence bone health are:
- Family history of osteoporosis and hip fracture in the mother.
- sedentary life.
- Toxic excess.
- Low dairy intake.
- Various diseases.
- Previous medical treatments.
Thus, Dr. Calvo Catalá points out that “there are no suggestive symptoms. Osteoporosis is known as the ‘silent epidemic’ since it does not produce any symptoms, except if a fracture appears, which is the consequence of osteoporosis. Therefore, osteopenia does not produce any symptoms that allow us to diagnose it.
Importance in prevention
To obtain a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis, it is only necessary to perform a densitometry. Thus, bone health specialists recommend going to the doctor for a test of this type every several years.
“We must perform it in patients with the risk factors that we have previously discussed. In these cases, efficacy and efficiency have been demonstrated, as we will avoid not only progression, but also by assessing these risk factors, sometimes we will have to start ‘anti-osteoporosis’ treatments, since a significant number of fractures occur in people. with osteopenia, not only with osteoporosis », confesses the specialist.
Regarding the treatment of osteoporosis or osteopenia, Dr. Calvo Catalá emphasizes that it is necessary to assess various risk factors. “It is useful to apply a WHO index, called ‘FRAX index’, which is available on the Internet and which assesses these risk factors, assessing the 10-year risk of fracture,” he says.
Thus, vitamin D is one of the adequate micronutrients to prevent the development of osteoporosis in case of osteopenia. We are talking about a vitamin that favors the absorption of calcium and that is why having optimal values reduces the risk of bone diseases.