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    Young male Osteopenia
    An_267834 posted:
    Hi, my name is Cesar and I was just diagnosed with osteopenia. The odd thing is, I'm a 35 y/o otherwise healthy male. I've always had back pain/ache but just muscled through it. When I would go to the doc, they pretty much just gave me Motrin. Anyway, I had a dexa scan and my results weren't good--especially, for my age and gender.

    BMD of the LUMBAR SPINE is: 0.991 g/cm2 T score: -2.0 Z score: -2.0

    BMD of the LEFT FEMORAL NECK is: 0.936 g/cm2 T score: -1.1 Z score: -1.0

    BMD of the RIGHT FEMORAL NECK is: 0.942 g/cm2 T score: -1.1 Z score: -1.0

    I don't know what this means really other than what I found on the internet (osteopenia). My doctors are saying that it's reversible but again, what I found in my research is that, it's not. My testosterone levels I think are on the low end, but my doc again says they are normal. I have an appointment with endocrinology next month so I'm hoping they'll have some answers. My vitamin D levels were low (24 mg/ml) so I was prescribed a really aggressive 50,000 IUs per/wk. I really don't know what I should do, or who I should see--I guess I'm just looking for some advice from the community. Thanks. Cesar
    bonebabe responded:
    Hey Cesar,

    Two things that are important for insurance and health history purposes. 1) Osteopenia is not a diagnosis or a disease. Osteoporosis is a disease. So don't put osteopenia on any insurance forms. 2) No male under the age of 35 is given a diagnosis no matter what his Z-scores are.

    Because of your age, you will be looking at Z-scores and not T-scores. Z-scores compare you to other men your age. That's what you need to look at. When you're over 50, you'll look at T-scores, which compare you to a healthy 20 year old to determine your risk for fracture.

    Glad you had your Vit D level checked. That's the first thing I was going to suggest.

    Your scores are probably still in the area to be improved. No medication for you unless you're on prednisone long term.

    What you need to do is complete your mega doses of Vit D, then follow up with the dose the doctor recommends for you. You also need about 1000 mg of calcium each day. There's no good or bad calcium, so you can take any kind. Don't go to a health food store as it'll cost you unnecessary $$.

    Calcium is slow to be absorbed into the body. You'll need to take your doses twice daily, preferably with a meal. The body will absorb about 500 mg at a time. Read your label carefully to see if a dose is one pill or two.

    You also need to be on your feet at least 4 hours a day. Walking will improve your density as well as anything else. We recommend 1/2 hour 3 days/week.

    With scores like yours (not really bad, but not normal) your endo will be looking at them as secondary to something else that might be going on. The low testosterone could be it. My brother had the same thing caused by too much partying in college. He's now on Actonel and doing well. He's also over 50.

    After you've been on your calcium, Vit D and exercise schedule for 2 years, go back to the same place you had your DXA and have another one. Then you can see what changes, if any, are noted. Also, if it's determined that there's no change, that's good. We look at improvement, no change both as good. Like your checkbook, we don't want to see loss.

    You can look at the National Osteoporosis Foundation website ( for a lot more really good verified information. It's the gold standard for all things osteo.

    I hope this helps and reassures you that your situation is not dire.

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