Osteopenia is a condition which affects the density of the bones all over the human body, making them brittle and significantly increasing the risk of fractures. As osteopenia progresses osteoporosis may develop. Bone mass is normally lost as a person gets older due to many reasons starting usually at the age of 30 after reaching the peak bone density.
It may require years for osteopenia to get diagnosed as usually there are no signs and symptoms until a bone fracture occurs. Sometimes, a person can get diagnosed with osteopenia in cases when a bone density test is made as part of routine examinations. Osteopenia and osteoporosis affect women more than men. The risk of osteopenia increases significantly after menopause due to hormonal changes.
Symptom #1: Asymptomatic Osteopenia
Osteopenia is often asymptomatic for many years until a bone fracture occurs due to a minor trauma. As the loss of bone mass progresses, the bones will become thinner and brittle. The risk of fractures even due to a minor trauma or fall increases significantly. The weaker the bones are, the greater the risk is.
When it comes to the bone density, osteopenia is defined as any T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 in the bone density test. With years osteopenia progresses until osteoporosis develops. However, not everyone with osteopenia will develop osteoporosis.