What is osteopenia?

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Osteopenia is a medical condition that is characterized by low bone density.  As people get older, bone density is said to decrease and therefore making the bones less stronger and more prone to injury.  When the osteopenia progresses rapidly, some people may eventually get osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disorder that results to very weak and brittle bones.  People with osteopenia may start to have lowered bone density as early as their 30s or by around the middle age of 40.  Once the peak bone density is reached, the normal bone structure in the body will begin to deteriorate with age.

Many osteopenia cases are all attributed to the normal process of aging.  In terms of the sexes, women are also said to develop more bone problems compared to men.  One basic reason for this is that women’s peak bone density at around age 30 is said to be lower compared to men.  There are also various hormonal changes in women that lead to more bone loss especially during their menopausal stage.  Aside from age and sex, osteopenia may also be a result of eating disorders or metabolism-related problems.  When the body undernourished in terms of nutrient consumption and absorption, bone density and mass will be affected.  People undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapies may also get osteopenia faster than normal individuals.

The problem with osteopenia is that it does not present any symptoms.  People can only know about it if they submit to a bone density test.  If there are no fractures involved, not many people would know that they have osteopenia.  Most people get to be diagnosed with this condition when they come in for medical x-rays and bone density tests after suffering from fractures and other concerns relating to their bones.  Once diagnosed, some patients may be advised to take supplements to help build up more bone density or increase the absorption of nutrients that help make the bones stronger.  All patients with osteopenia are also often advised to be extra careful in terms of physical activities to avoid possible bone injury.

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