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20 year old with Osteopenia
CatherineNoel posted:
Hello, I'm completely new here, and really just looking for some advice or support. I came back from the hospital this morning after having a bone density scan. They told me I have osteopenia, and that this was the reason for my multiple stress fractures. I am looking into diet modifications (gluten free?) and other options to try and correct this. Im only 20, and feel a little weird about this situation, can anyone relate?
bonebabe responded:
I see all kinds of red flags when I hear stories like this.

First, at 20 years of age, you have not built up your peak bone mass. 99% of people at this age will show osteopenia. Osteopenia is not a diagnosis or disease or condition. It is a definition of low bone mass. You don't get a diagnosis of osteoporosis until you've gone through menopause.

We've seen quite a few young women in our osteoporosis center with stress fractures. Usually they were runners and/or very thin. Some even were anorexic or had irregular periods. Ruling those risks out for you, I'm guessing you haven't built up the bone you should have by this time and you're wise to be aware of it.

What you need to begin doing immediately is consuming 1200 mg of calcium a day in diet and/or supplements. Your body will absorb 500 mg at a time so spread it out throughout the day. I personally like the Viactive chocolate chews. They're individually wrapped, easy to carry a few with you and contain all the calcium and Vit D you need in one dose. Taking two a day covers you if you don't get much calcium in your diet.

If your doctor hasn't checked your Vit D levels, ask about that. You should be getting at least 1000 IU a day.

You also need to be on your feet at least 4 hours a day. If you can walk 1/2 hour a day that's good too. Since you've had stress fractures, I wouldn't attempt running, if that's something you have been doing.

Go to the National Osteoporosis Foundation website ( ) for a lot of answers to your questions and some reliable information.

You'll be glad you took these steps now so that you're standing tall and fracture free as a mature woman.

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For more information, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website