Dr Sadqa Gul
Q: I have been diagnosed with osteopaenia. Can you please tell me the difference between that and osteoporosis? Ahmed, Islamabad
A: The terms osteopaenia and osteoporosis both relate to bone mass or density. A person with osteopaenia is at risk of progressing on to develop osteoporosis and needs to be followed up at periodic intervals to establish the rate at which their bone mass is reducing. Osteoporosis is at a more advanced stage of bone mass reduction that is also characterised by microscopic changes within the internal architecture of bone. These changes result in increased bone fragility and increased susceptibility to fracture. This higher risk of bone fracture does not apply to osteopaenia. It is recommended that women with osteopaenia should take more physical exercise, stop smoking and take calcium and vitamin D supplements. These various measures all help to decelerate the rate of reduction in bone mass.