Both osteoporosis and osteopenia are conditions caused due to lower bone density, and they are more common in older adults. You must know that your bone density is at the maximum when you are about 35 years old and then gradually it begins to decline as you age. Usually, bone health is determined by checking the bone mineral density (BMD); people with osteopenia have lower than normal BMD. That said, this is not considered a disease, but it can be a precursor to osteoporosis. Read on to know more about osteopenia, its risk factors, and its diagnosis.
Osteopenia VS Osteoporosis
You can consider having osteopenia as the midpoint between healthy bones and having osteoporosis. When you are at this stage, you have bones that are weaker than normal, but they have not deteriorated so far that they easily break. Usually, this stage arrives by the age of 50, and this also depends on the strength of your bones when you were young. Last but not least, you might not get osteopenia if your bones are naturally denser.
Who Is Most Likely To Get Osteopenia?
Osteopenia develops when the body loses more bone than it is creating, and there can be multiple reasons for this. For example, some people have a family history, In addition, men who have lower testosterone levels, and women in the menopause phase are also prone to this.
Certain medical conditions or treatments can trigger osteopenia. Also, eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia can lead to the development of this condition because they limit the number of nutrients required for maintaining bone health.
Listed below are other possible medical causes for osteopenia:
- Overactive thyroid
- Untreated celiac disease
- Medications like steroids, antiseizure drugs, etc.
Osteopenia can also be caused due to lifestyle issues like lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, etc., and listed below are some of the top lifestyle causes:
- Not getting enough vitamin D or calcium in the diet
- Consuming too much alcohol
- Drinking too many carbonated drinks
How Is Osteopenia Diagnosed?
You must know that there are no visible symptoms for osteopenia, and this makes its diagnosis hard.
Listed below are the recommendations of the National Osteoporosis Foundation for a bone mineral density test:
- Women over the age of 65
- Postmenopausal women above the age of 50
- Men older than 65 years old
On a final note, you can detect osteopenia or osteoporosis at an earlier stage if you undergo regular health check-ups.