What is Osteopenia

Osteopenia is a preclinical circumstance of reduced bone density. Doctors generally consider osteopenia to precede osteoporosis. Osteopenia has no symptoms and is a diagnosis the doctor arrives at as a consequence of the person’s bone density score with radiologic (X-RAY based) bone density measurement.

About 34 million Americans, mostly women at or beyond menopause and men older than age 60, have osteopenia.

Osteopenia may result from various metabolic circumstances. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines osteopenia as bone density that is no greater than 2.5 standard deviations below normal bone density (reported as a T-score between –0.1 and –2.5).

Conventional diagnostic methods establish a scale of bone density relative to that of a young person of the same gender at an age when bone density is at its peak.

Treatment Options

Many people can restore bone density through resistance exercise and increased calcium consumption. Doctors generally do not treat osteopenia beyond these measures but instead closely monitor bone density. Osteopenia is a warning sign for women approaching or beyond menopause, as bone density loss accelerates when estrogen levels in the body decrease.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to osteopenia include physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, all of which interfere with calcium transfer and other metabolic processes related to bone remodeling.


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