Overview

What is Osteopenia?

Osteopenia is a condition characterised by low bone mineral density, or thinning of the bones. Osteopenia is not as severe as osteoporosis and not everyone who has osteopenia will develop osteoporosis. However, it's an early warning sign that you should be taking action to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and fracturing or breaking bones in future.

Symptoms

What are the signs of Osteopenia?

Osteopenia causes no specific pain or symptoms.

Causes

What are the causes of Osteopenia?

Ageing is the most common risk factor for osteopenia. After your bone mass peaks, your body breaks down old bone faster than it builds new bone resulting in lowered bone density. Other common causes of osteopenia include:

Family history

Family history

Overweight/underweight

Overweight/underweight

Lack of physical activity & weight bearing exercise

Lack of physical activity & weight bearing exercise

Hormonal imbalance

Hormonal imbalance

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance

High blood sugar

High blood sugar

Vitamin/mineral deficiency (vitamin D, K, calcium)

Vitamin/mineral deficiency (vitamin D, K, calcium)

Chronic stress and depression

Chronic stress and depression

Smoking

Smoking

High alcohol intake

High alcohol intake

High caffeine intake

High caffeine intake

Diagnosis

How do I know if I have Osteopenia?

To diagnose osteoporosis, your doctor is likely to ask you about your medical and family history and perform a physical exam. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (or DEXA) is considered the gold standard technology for assessing bone mineral density. The scan uses X-rays to measure bone density.

To diagnose Osteoporosis, your doctor is likely to prescribe the following tests:

A bone density test

A bone density test

Find a Practitioner

See a list of practitioners who are specialised in treating Osteopenia.