Osteopenia is a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal. It is considered by many doctors to be a precursor to osteoporosis.
Additional data for osteopenia may be on the way.
Osteoporosis ("porous bones", from Greek: οστούν/ostoun meaning "bone" and πόρος/poros meaning "pore") is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture.
osteoporosis n : abnormal loss of bony tissue resulting in fragile porous bones attributable to a lack of calcium; most common in postmenopausal women
Osteoporosis \Os`te*o*po*ro"sis\, n. [NL.; osteo- + Gr. po`ros pore.] (Med. & Physiol.) An absorption of bone so that the bone tissue becomes unusually porous. It occurs especially in elderly men and postmenopausal women, and predisposes the elderly to fractures of the bones. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]
The form of osteoporosis most common in women after menopause is referred to as primary type 1 or postmenopausal osteoporosis. Primary type 2 osteoporosis or senile osteoporosis occurs after age 75 and is seen in both females and males at a ratio of 2:1. Secondary osteoporosis may arise at any age and affect men and women equally. This form results from chronic predisposing medical problems or disease, or prolonged use of medications such as glucocorticoids, when the disease is called steroid- or glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
Fractures are the most dangerous aspect of osteoporosis. Debilitating acute and chronic pain in the elderly is often attributed to fractures from osteoporosis and can lead to further disability and early mortality. These fractures may also be asymptomatic. The symptoms of a vertebral collapse ("compression fracture") are sudden back pain, often with radicular pain (shooting pain due to nerve root compression) and rarely with spinal cord compression or cauda equina syndrome. Multiple vertebral fractures lead to a stooped posture, loss of height, and chronic pain with resultant reduction in mobility.