Osteopenia is a condition characterized by decreased bone mineral density, which increases the risk of fractures. It is considered a stage prior to osteoporosis, which is a disease that causes significant bone weakness increasing the risk of fractures and that requires active treatment with antiresorptive or osteoforming drugs.
The diagnosis of osteopenia is made by bone densitometry, a test that measures the amount of calcium and other minerals in the bones. This test is quick, simple, and non-invasive, and can detect decreased bone mineral density before symptoms or fractures develop.
Treatment of osteopenia depends on the underlying cause, but usually includes a combination of general measures and medications. General measures include lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, calcium and vitamin D supplementation if necessary, and reduction in alcohol and tobacco use.
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