Osteopenia, also known as low bone mineral density whereby bones become weaker than normal, but not weak enough to be called osteoporosis. Medically osteopenia is the precursor of osteoporosis. Low bone density is caused by multiple factors that affect bone strength.

Causes And Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to develop osteopenia from genetic inheritance, medical conditions and medications can affect the risk of low bone density. Furthermore, low body weight is another important risk factor for this condition. This condition is more common among women after the age of 30 years.

Osteopenia is seen in people with eating disorders, and a natural weakening of the skeleton that occurs with age, unhealthy lifestyle, alcoholism, lack of calcium, vitamin D, and excessive minerals.

Osteopenia does not have any major symptoms. The individual may not know that he or she has a problem until you break a bone after a minor trip or fall. Once this happens, the person could already have osteoporosis and the risk of breaking another bone increases.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Doctors usually suggest bone density test or DEXA test for osteopenia diagnosis. Treatment aims at preventing osteopenia from progressing into osteoporosis. The only method of treatment is lifestyle modification by improving one’s diet and cutting down on alcohol intake, quitting smoking, exercising regularly and getting enough calcium and vitamin D will all help to maintain the bone strength and reduce the risk of going on to develop osteoporosis.

However, doctors may prescribe doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements.