font size


Osteopenia

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Osteopenia facts

  • Osteopenia is decreased bone density but not to the extent of osteoporosis. This decreased bone density leads to bone fragility and an increased chance of breaking a bone (fracture).
  • About 34 million people in the U.S. have osteopenia, and 50% of Caucasian women will fracture a bone in their lifetime.
  • Women over the age of 65 and any postmenopausal woman with risk factors for bone loss should be tested for osteopenia or osteoporosis. The DXA scan is a widely available and accurate method for diagnosing osteopenia or osteoporosis.
  • Not everyone with osteopenia requires treatment with prescription medications; your doctor can determine if you should be treated based on your bone density and other risk factors.
  • An adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, avoiding excessive alcohol, not smoking, and getting plenty of exercise can help prevent osteopenia.

What is osteopenia?

Osteopenia is a bone condition characterized by a decreased density of bone, which leads to bone weakening and an increased risk of breaking a bone (fracture). Osteopenia and osteoporosis are related conditions. The difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis is that in osteopenia the bone loss is not as severe as in osteoporosis. That means someone with osteopenia is more likely to fracture a bone than someone with a normal bone density but is less likely to fracture a bone than someone with osteoporosis.

Osteomalacia, osteomyelitis, and osteoarthritis are different conditions that are frequently confused with osteopenia because they sound similar. Osteomalacia is a disorder of the mineralization of newly formed bone, which causes the bone to be weak and more prone to fracture. There are many causes of osteomalacia, including vitamin D deficiency and low blood phosphate levels. Osteomyelitis is bone infection. Osteoarthritis is joint inflammation featuring cartilage loss and is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis does not cause osteopenia, osteoporosis, or a decreased bone mineral density.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/26/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Osteopenia - Causes Question: If known, what is the cause of your osteopenia?
Osteopenia - Signs and Symptoms Question: Describe the signs and symptoms associated with your osteopenia.
Osteopenia - Diagnosis Question: Describe the events that led to a diagnosis of osteopenia.
Osteopenia - Treatment Question: What treatments or therapies have you received for your osteopenia?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/osteopenia/article.htm

Healthy Bones

Get tips and advances in treatment.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations