Both osteoporosis and osteopenia refer to problems in the bones, but the difference between them exists in the severity of the problem. You probably heard of osteoporosis more than the other term and that’s because it is a more serious condition which debilitates your bones.
Osteopenia is defined as the thinning of your bone mass gradually. If you examine the bone mineral density, you will find the level to be lower than the standard value but not as low as the level in people with osteoporosis. The bone weakening process is at a moderate stage and it has high chances of advancing to severe stage. This condition is normally seen in elderly people who are 50 years old and above where the calcium absorption process in bones start to slow down till they are slower than the rate calcium leeching from bones. This encourage the bone to erode little by little.
Meanwhile, osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass due to deficiency in the bone building minerals like calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and etc. Patients with this condition will have a bone mineral density level that is very low and they are at risk of getting fractures and changes in posture and height resulting in hunchback and lower height. The bones are so weak that they cannot support the muscles and body, causing a person to hunch and stoop.
To determine if you are having a bone thinning or bone loss condition, you can go for a bone mineral density test where the calcium level in your bones will be measured. The calcium level will indicate the health of your bones, where the higher the calcium level is, the better protected your bones are from bone diseases. This test will help you to figure your risk of developing fractures. It is a simple procedure which is done on certain part of your bones including your hip, spine, wrist, finger and heel.