Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia: Facts to Know

Both osteoporosis and osteopenia are conditions that have to do with bone density, but they are not the same thing.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that can affect people of any age, although it is more common among older women. It is characterized by an excessive loss of bone mass caused by a deficiency in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and other important bone minerals. Healthy bones have small spaces within them; these spaces increase due to osteoporosis. As the bones break down faster than they are created in osteoporotic patients, they become less dense and more porous (develop more spaces in them). They grow very fragile and more prone to fracture.

Osteopenia is also a bone condition where a person has a bone density that is considered lower than normal. Unlike osteoporosis, it is not considered a disease. It is also not considered as extreme. While it may not lead to osteoporosis, it is an important risk factor.

This article discusses some important facts about osteopenia and osteoporosis. Read on to find out.

Osteopenia Is Midway to Osteoporosis

Osteopenia, like osteoporosis, is more common in older adults with a bone density that is lower than average. Osteopenia is not as extreme as osteoporosis, but if left unattended, it may degenerate into osteoporosis.

Some people even consider osteopenia to be more of a checkpoint on the way to osteoporosis i.e. one of the earliest stages of osteoporosis. [1] This is likely because the essential difference between osteoporosis and osteopenia is the measure of bone density. Once osteopenia advances past a certain stage, it becomes osteoporosis.