Osteopenia is a condition where a person begins to lose more bone tissue than their body creates. This results in a loss of bone strength, mass and density, though these deficits aren’t as severe as those seen in osteoporosis. Osteopenia is not inevitable, though it is more likely to affect women and people with a family history of osteopenia. About half of every American over 50 has osteopenia.
Information. Bone is a living tissue, and the body continually breaks it down and builds it up. It is at its most dense when a person is in their 20s and early 30s. The difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis is the mineral density of the affected bone is lower in osteoporosis. The density measures the strength of the bone and calculates the risk of it breaking. Mineral bone density can be easily checked by a DXA, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry test. The bone is given a T score, and a T score that’s between -1 to – 2.5 indicates osteopenia. A higher score indicates osteoporosis.
Women are more prone to osteopenia because their bone mass is already lower than men’s, and they live longer, so their bones are more subject to wear and tear. Many women are also a bit calcium deficient. Calcium is a crucial mineral when it comes to building bones, and low levels of calcium decrease the body’s production of estrogen. Normal levels of estrogen support bone density, which is why the hormonal changes that occur during menopause lower bone density.