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Osteopenia : Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Friday, August 17th 2012. | Bone Health, Disease


Osteopenia Definition

Osteopenia is a moderate bone loss, without clinical manifestations associated.

Osteopenia is not a disease but an intermediate stage between normal bone and osteoporosis. Osteopenia may worsen in case of joint diseases, including endocrine or digestive.

Osteopenia Causes

Bone is constantly remodeling tissue. In each bone remodeling unit is a succession of phases of destruction (or resorption) by osteoclasts and bone formation by osteoblasts.

Early adulthood, resorption exceeds bone formation, so it’s more bone that disappears it is formed: this is osteopenia physiological aging.

This bone loss varies by sex: the order of 30% in men between 20 and 80 years, reaching 50% in women with accelerated bone loss during the 10 to 15 years after menopause, after the estrogen deficiency that inhibit bone resorption.

Osteopenia uncorrected can progress to osteoporosis with reduced size, risk of vertebral fractures, fractures of the femur, wrist, or humerus.


Osteoporosis (img thanks to trainoutpain.blogspot.com)

Osteopenia Risk Factor

The factors are many America-dominated age and immobilization.

Immobilization of several weeks during an accident, a broken, complicated pregnancy, for example leads to increase natural osteopenia in adults.

Like, a lack of vitamin D (especially in winter) or a calcium deficiency (for people who eat little dairy). 
People with endocrine disease, such as hyperthyroidism or uncorrected hyperparathyroidism, excess cortisol in the blood bound to a secondary Cushing’s disease, making a long-term steroids (more than three months) or with a decrease in testosterone hypogonadism, early menopause may osteopenia secondary to their disease.

Some digestive diseases leading to gastrectomy, cirrhosis can also be complicated by osteopenia.

More rarely, a fracture without trauma may reveal osteopenia idiopathic (without cause found) especially in a young man.

Osteopenia Symptoms

Osteopenia does not cause specific symptoms.

Osteopenia is not a disease but a decrease of bone density weakens the bones. It is responsible for any clinical manifestation. Only when it has evolved into one that osteoporosis can result in bone pain, fractures or vertebral compression fractures.

Osteopenia Diagosis

Bone densitometry bone is the key examination for the diagnosis of osteopenia.

The bone densitometry is a radiological examination, without injection and without sampling, which measures bone density at the lumbar spine and proximal femur.

Reduced bone density resulting in the report by a T-score between – 2.5 <T-score <-1 is in favor of osteopenia. 
A blood test, directed by questioning and clinical examination, will also asked to look for a cause likely to increase the physiological osteopenia.

Osteopenia Treatment

The only treatment is prevention.

There is no treatment for osteopenia but preventive measures to prevent it from turning into osteoporosis, a disease that can cause vertebral collapse or fracture. 
Regular exercise, a balanced diet (with daily intakes dairy products) and the appropriate treatment of diseases that exacerbate osteopenia are natural and effective measures to prevent bone loss and therefore osteopenia.

Osteopenia Further Treatment

If proven osteopenia, it is desirable to correct the causes likely to worsen and turn it into osteoporosis.

It is therefore important to reduce the prolonged immobilization, treat disease is complicated by osteopenia, to correct a possible deficiency of vitamin D or calcium.

A new bone densitometry is discussed when new risks arise osteopenia, as the occurrence a fracture without trauma, stopping hormone replacement therapy prescribed for menopause or taking corticosteroids sustainable.

Osteopenia Patient Consultation

To assess the possibilities of having osteopenia at risk of developing osteoporosis disease, it is important to tell your doctor your physical activity (sedentary, active?), Your illnesses and your current existing treatments.

Based this information, your clinical examination and risk factors identified to have bone demineralization, your doctor will then offer to do a bone densitometry who will certify whether osteopenia or osteoporosis.


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