What is Osteopenia?

Being diagnosed with osteopenia can leave patients with a desire to better understand the conditions and associated pain and symptoms. Osteopenia is simply a lower level of bone mineral density. During the natural aging process, bone growth decreases, while bone absorption increases. As this occurs, bones often become weaker and more vulnerable to becoming fractured. As a precursor to osteoporosis, women over the age of 50 are more commonly diagnosed with the condition. According to the US Department of Health, approximately one of every two women with this condition will experience fractures, the majority of which will be spinal fractures.

Who is most susceptible to osteopenia?

Women who are going through or who have gone through menopause are the most likely to develop osteopenia. This is generally caused by the amount of bone density that women over the age of 30 lose. There are a number of other factors that can increase the risk of developing osteopenia, including:

  • Smoking or malnutrition
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Chemotherapy or radiation
  • Eating disorders
  • Caucasian or Asian lineage

Can osteopenia be reversed?

Though the condition can not necessarily be reversed, the best way to avoid developing osteopenia is by monitoring and increasing the consumption of calcium and vitamin D. Most doctors also recommend exercise as an effective way to avoid the loss of mineral bone density.

If osteopenia progresses to the point of becoming osteoporosis, the risk of associated spinal fractures increases dramatically. In these cases, most surgeons will recommend a variety of spinal procedures in order to treat the fractures and associated pain and symptoms. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive alternative to the traditional open neck and back procedures used to treat certain types of fractures and other spinal conditions. For more information, contact Laser Spine Institute today.