Osteopenia - Definition

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Osteopenia denotes bone fragility caused by a reduction in bone mineral density (BMD). This density increases while we grow, then progressively decreases. Osteopenia constitutes an intermediate stage between normal, healthy bones and osteoporosis, a generalized disease of the skeleton causing increased risk of fractures by altering bone microarchitecture. A technique called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry enables the bone mineral density of different parts of the skeleton to be measured. Based on the value obtained, and by comparing it to normal values taken from young individuals of the same age and gender of the patient, it is possible to determine whether the patient is suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis.