Both, osteopenia and osteoporosis play a major role in the aging body. Each of which with their own consequences that have the potential to lead to greater complications.
Osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis. Think of osteopenia as the little brother to osteoporosis. Osteopenia is simply weakened or low mineral density bone and is determined using a noninvasive bone density test. The mineral of bones is tested to determine what is called a ‘T-score‘. The found score determines whether an individual has normal or low mineral density. A lower score indicates weaker bone thus an increased risk for fracture. A T-score between -1 and -2.5 indicates osteopenia.
Osteoporosis is the progressive stage of osteopenia. It’s important to note, one does not have to be diagnosed with osteopenia before being diagnosed with osteoporosis. That is, osteopenia may go undetected to the point of an osteoporosis diagnosis. Those with osteoporosis are at a much greater risk for fracture as their bone mineral density is far less than that of a normal bone structure. A T-score beyond -2.5 indicates a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Unfortunately, both conditions are not curable. However, there are simple treatment options that will help to strengthen already weak bones as well as slow the loss of bone density. Treatments include:
Bone mineral density tends to be at its greatest around the age of 35. A diagnosis of either osteopenia or osteoporosis occurs in those over the age of 50 and becoming more prevalent in women after menopause. It’s important to know where you stand in order to prevent life altering events from occurring.