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  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

Understanding Osteopenia at the right time may help you and your dear ones from getting succumbed!!!

Osteopenia is the midpoint between having healthy bones and having osteoporosis. Here, the bones are weaker than normal but not so far gone that they break easily. Osteopenia, if it happens at all, usually occurs after age 50.

Has Bone Mass Density got anything to do with Osteopenia?

  • Healthy bones are not solid, their interiors being made of a honeycomb structure with tiny holes to keep them light and springy,

  • When bones reduce their mineral density they have much larger holes as well as thin cortical walls, which can increase their risk of fracturing. This makes an understanding of bone density very important

  • In normal conditions, BMD increases during childhood and peaks at roughly age 25, which is maintained for about 10 years. After age 35, both men and women usually lose 0.3–0.5% of their BMD per year as part of the aging process.

  • Genetic factors, environmental factors and medications affect BMD.

  • Increased risk factors for lower bone density may include age, menopause, smoking, alcoholism, low physical activity, certain medical conditions, poor diet low in vitamins and calcium, excessive soft drink intake, low body mass index, certain medications

Understanding the role of Estrogen in Bone Mass Density?

  • Estrogen is important in maintaining BMD in women. After menopause, when estrogen levels start falling, loss of BMD accelerates resulting in the loss of up to 25–30% of their BMD in the initial 10 years. The accelerated bone loss after menopause is a major cause of osteoporosis in women, referred to as postmenopausal osteoporosis

Loss of BMD leads to Osteoporosis and Osteopenia.

Getting to the core of Osteopenia.

  • Osteopenia is a condition characterized by the loss of bone mineral density (BMD).

  • The loss of BMD is not as severe in Osteopenia, as it is in the case of osteoporosis.

  • By definition from the World Health Organization osteopenia is defined by bone densitometry as a T score -1 to -2.5.

What is a T score?

  • T-score is the bone density of an individual compared with what is normally expected in a healthy young adult of same age and sex.

  • It is the number of units called as standard deviations, that shows one’s bone density to be above or below the average.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) established that dual x-ray absorptiometry tests scans (DEXA) of the central skeleton is the best test for assessing bone mineral density

1. Scores between negative 1 and negative 2.5 reflect a diagnosis of osteopenia

2. Scores below negative 2.5 reflect a diagnosis of osteoporosis


1. Osteopenia will not cause any symptoms itself.

2. Osteopenia is a severe risk factor for developing osteoporosis.

3. Often, the first sign your bones are getting weak is a break.


Early education plays a major role and must be provided on:

- how to achieve and maintain healthy bone mass levels and extensive

- the relevant social, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors that effect bone health. All clinicians should educate patients about the morbidity of osteopenia. In particular encourage the patient to:

  • Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium

  • Exercise, cease smoking, and keep alcohol to a minimum.

Medical treatment is generally not given to people with early-stage osteopenia.

Can we prevent Osteopenia?

  • If we prevent the loss of BMD, we can prevent Osteopenia as well as Osteoporosis.

  • One means for achieving this in adolescents are exercise programme as part of vigorous physical activity (VPA).

  • Situations that provide limited mechanical loads such as flying in space or bed rests reduce the BMD, but sustained mechanical loads increase the BMD, and this is reflected well in the increase in BMD with regular exercise.


  • An increase in bone mineral density during adolescence increases resistance to fractures in older age.

  • Exercise programs as part of vigorous physical activity (VPA) including resistance and impact exercise at least 5 to 6 months were effective for improving PBM in adolescents.

  • Though Vit D supplementation in adults are widely thought to enhance bone health, Clinically important benefits for bone density from 1-y vitamin D supplementation in healthy children and adolescents, regardless of baseline vitamin D status, are unlikely

At Valley Healing Hands, We provide the best Physical Therapy treatment for those suffering from Osteopenia. Depending on the severity, our physiotherapist who are highly qualified will plan an individualized treatment routine, customized to your specific needs. Our patients are highly satisfied with our services. You can learn about what they have to say about us here and get connected to us here. Our patients love us, you too will!!!


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