Individuals with osteopenia do not experience any symptoms and also do not notice pain or apparent physical changes. However, they have an increasingly higher risk of breaking a bone as the condition progresses, according to WebMD. A bone density test is necessary to diagnose osteopenia.
Osteopenia is a condition in which the body has a lower bone density than normal, but the levels are not too low to qualify as osteoporosis, explains WebMD. Individuals with osteopenia are at risk of eventually developing osteoporosis. People generally lose bone mass when they turn 30 years old, when bone density is at its peak. It is natural for bones to become thinner as people reach middle age because the body starts to reabsorb bone cells faster than it creates new bones.
In some cases, people with osteopenia naturally have a low bone density, notes WebMD. Others develop osteopenia due to another condition or as a side effect of some medcial treatments. Women have a higher risk of developing osteopenia than men because their peak bone density is often lower. Additionally, hormonal changes in menopausal women tend to speed up bone loss.
theless, older men are at risk of developing osteopenia due to a higher peak bone density, states WebMD. Men with low testosterone levels are also at risk. Other contributing factors to osteopenia include radiation exposure, chemotherapy, eating disorders and metabolism problems.