Osteopenia: Characteristics, Differences, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Some doctors classify it as the principle of osteoporosis and it is a condition in the bones that produces its weakness.

To the point of acquiring greater risks of a fracture if the affected bone is injured.

Osteopenia with a series of treatments can be cured, that is, bone can acquire lost properties again but is more likely to acquire this condition over time if the affected area is not given adequate care.

Characteristics of Osteopenia

This bone condition is the decrease in bone density, can be located anywhere in the bone structure and has no age distinction, since if a young person does not have a balanced diet or suffer from any abnormality or loss of Calcium can acquire this disease.

Women tend to be more prone to suffer from Osteopenia, especially if they are in the postmenopausal stage or are after 65 years, so they must go rigorously to routine medical check-ups and verify that they do not suffer from this condition.

Fortunately, if Osteopenia is diagnosed early and depending on its severity, it can be treated with foods that nourish the bones or with easily acquired medications such as calcium and vitamin D.

In some cases doctors may suggest the elimination of alcoholic beverages if the affected person consumes them regularly, the elimination of the cigarette if he is an active smoker and an exercise routine to strengthen the bones.

Men can also suffer from Osteopenia, including osteoporosis or any other condition linked to the bones, so it is recommended that after andropause or at the time of entering into the 60 years, routine exams begin to rule out this condition.

Bone Diseases

Many people make the mistake of confusing osteomyelitis , osteomalacia and osteoarthritis with Osteopenia but they are totally different diseases.

For example, osteomyelitis is an infection that acquires bone structure, whereas osteomalacia is known as a disorder in bone mineralization rare in the bones, making them more prone to fractures to weaken.

And osteoarthritis is formed by an inflammation in the joints that generates the loss of cartilage.

Difference between Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

These two conditions are related to each other.

The factor that could differentiate them is that Osteopenia, despite there being a bone loss or weakening, is not so serious and can be cured, instead osteoporosis is a condition that bones acquire and must have a lot of control and care to avoid fractures or serious injuries in the bone structure.


This disease is related to many factors, such as:

  • Hormones: in some cases osteoporosis is formed by the loss of estrogen or testosterone in the body, this happens frequently to women who are in menopause .
  • External agents: the bad habits acquired with age can be a predominant factor for the formation of Osteopenia in premature or advanced ages, such as cigarettes, excessive alcoholic beverages, frequent consumption of dark drinks or soft drinks.
  • Genetics: Men and women who have a history or family history of bone diseases such as osteomyelitis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, may be more likely to suffer from Osteopenia.
  • Medications: Certain drugs can contribute to the loss of calcium or deterioration of the bones if they are used frequently. Among them are anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, among others.
  • Diseases: there are some syndromes that can contribute to the acquisition of osteoporosis in the bones as is the case of anorexia and bulimia, which can cause the loss of calcium in the urine or some syndromes acquired in the process of gestation of the fetus.


This type of condition in the bone structure has no symptoms or detectable external abnormalities. In some cases it may be years before the condition is diagnosed or a fracture suddenly occurs.

In some cases it can be detected by the loss of calcium in the urine or by the deterioration of the teeth without having a deficiency in oral hygiene.

Treatment to cure Osteopenia

Osteopenia depending on the severity can be treated with the dosage of calcium and vitamin D for a certain time.

The goal of treatment is to prevent osteopenia from progressing to osteoporosis.

The first part of the treatment includes diet and exercise options. The risk of fracturing a bone when you have osteopenia is quite small, so doctors usually do not prescribe medication unless your BMD is very close to the level of osteoporosis.

In the case of supplements (calcium and vitamin D) it is better to consume enough of each of your diet.