What Causes Osteopenia?
As bones age, they naturally become thinner. Beginning in middle-age, existing bone cells are reabsorbed by your body faster than new bone is made. As bones lose mass and structure, they weaken and become more likely to break.
This process tends to be more rapid in women due to the hormonal changes they experience as they age. Estrogen and other female hormones strengthen women's bones. As estrogen levels decline during menopause, natural bone loss can accelerate. As a result, women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.
Your bones naturally become thinner as you grow older because, beginning in middle age, existing bone cells are reabsorbed by your body faster than new bone is made. As this occurs, the bones lose minerals, heaviness (mass), and structure, making them weaker and increasing their chances of breaking. You begin losing bone mass after your peak BMD at about 30 years of age. The thicker your bones are at age 30, the longer it takes to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Osteopenia refers to BMD that is lower than normal peak but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Some people who have osteopenia may not have bone loss, but rather just naturally lower bone density. Osteopenia may also be the result of other conditions or diseases.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
There are many lifestyle choices, common diseases and medications that place you at increased risk. Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Personal or family history of fragility fracture
- Alcohol abuse
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Low calcium intake
- Caucasian or Asian race.
Learn more about osteoporosis treatment and our bone strength program.