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A 36-year-old member asked:

can you tell me the difference between osteoporosis and osteopenia?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Susan Wingo
Endocrinology 33 years experience
Severity: Both osteopenia and osteoporosis indicate there is too little calcium in the bone. Osteoporosis is more severe, and suggests a higher risk for future fractures (broken bones), compared to osteopenia, or normal bone. Depending on other risk factors, medical treatment is usually recommended for osteoporosis, and sometimes advised for osteopenia.
Dr. Aaron Neinstein
Internal Medicine 14 years experience
T-scores different: Osteoporosis is defined by a t-score of less than -2.5 on a bone density test (dexa). T-score compares your bone density to that of a healthy 30 year old woman, and describes the number of standard deviations you are away from that score. It is a disease where you have an increased risk of fracture. Osteopenia referred to a t-score between -1.5 and -2.5, but its use has fallen out of favor.

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