Catherine Burt Driver, MD
Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- What is osteopenia?
- What causes osteopenia?
- What are osteopenia symptoms and signs?
- How widespread is osteopenia?
- Why is osteopenia important?
- When should I see my doctor for osteopenia?
- How is osteopenia diagnosed?
- Who should be tested for osteopenia?
- What is the treatment for osteopenia?
- What follow-up is needed after treatment of osteopenia has been initiated?
- Can osteopenia be prevented?
- Osteopenia At A Glance
- Patient Comments: Osteopenia - Causes
- Patient Comments: Osteopenia - Signs and Symptoms
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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. In osteopenia, however, 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.
What causes osteopenia?
Osteopenia has multiple causes. Common causes include
- genetics (familial predisposition to osteopenia or osteoporosis, as well as other genetic disorders);
- hormonal causes, including decreased estrogen (such as in women after menopause) or testosterone;
- excess alcohol;
- thin frame;
- certain medications (such as corticosteroids, including prednisone) and antiseizure medications;
- malabsorption due to conditions (such as celiac sprue);
- and chronic inflammation due to medical conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis).
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