Osteopenia vs Osteoporosis

Yesterday’s medical term Tuesday attracted multiple questions about osteopenia versus osteoporosis and also prevention/treatment possibilities. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are related conditions that both concern bone loss or decrease in bone quality. If you compare them to our South Florida summer weather osteopenia is like a tropical storm and osteoporosis is like a hurricane. Someone with osteopenia is more likely to fracture a bone than someone with normal bone density but less likely to fracture a bone than someone with osteoporosis.


Osteopenia and osteoporosis have multiple causes which can include:


hormonal changes (decreased estrogen or testosterone with aging)


excessive alcohol consumption

small framed people


medications (particularly corticosteroids)


chronic inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis)


Treatment for osteopenia and osteoporosis:

Treatment typically includes lifestyle modifications to increase calcium uptake into the bone as well as potential prescription medication that increases bone density if the person is at a high risk of fracture in the next 10 years. These risk factors are reviewed by the person’s physician looking at past medical and family history to determine on a case-by-case basis possible pharmaceutical intervention.

The following non-pharmaceutical treatment options are recommended:

Vitamin D

800 IU for women over 71

600 IU for women under 71 and men


1200 mg for women over 50 and men over 71

1000 mg for women under 50 and men under 71


limit alcohol consumption to less than 2 drinks per day


just stop its bad for everything!

Weight-bearing exercise: at least 30 minutes daily

weight lifting


stair climbing



*NOT swimming or bicycling

If you already have osteoporosis avoid excessive bending or twisting and high impact exercises without qualified supervision.


The good news is that frequently, bone loss can be slowed or stabilized with lifestyle changes or medication if necessary. If you have more questions about osteoporosis or other conditions send us a message.  If you are looking for a specific exercise program call or stop by and we can help you design something that fits your needs and goals while protecting your bones.

About Clif Rizer

Clif began his career at Lock Haven University specializing in sports medicine and Athletic Training. In 1993 he became certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He received his master's degree in Physical Therapy in 2001 from the University of Miami, School of Medicine, and began working as an orthopedic Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer with 5 high schools in Pennsylvania. In 2005 he returned to South Florida. In 2011, he received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy with his thesis focusing on headache and posture treatment from the University of Saint Augustine. His areas of specialization include the spine, shoulder rehabilitation, sports rehabilitation, and geriatric rehabilitation. In Clif's off hours he enjoys triathlon training, weight lifting, and spending time with his wife.
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2 Responses to Osteopenia vs Osteoporosis

  1. Rosalind Guttman says:

    ok, so what is the read difference.  Osteo PENIA  means pain in the bones as the suffice denotes. Is that because one has osteoporosis????  MizRoz

    From: clifrizer To: mizroz2002@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 6:52 AM Subject: [New post] Osteopenia vs Osteoporosis #yiv5063841251 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5063841251 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5063841251 a.yiv5063841251primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5063841251 a.yiv5063841251primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5063841251 a.yiv5063841251primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5063841251 a.yiv5063841251primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5063841251 WordPress.com | Clif Rizer posted: “Yesterday’s medical term Tuesday attracted multiple questions about osteopenia versus osteoporosis and also prevention/treatment possibilities. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are related conditions that both concern bone loss or decrease in bone quality. If” | |

    • Clif Rizer says:

      -Penia = suffix meaning deficiency in this case bone. Pain is rarely a symptom unless you fracture although some people do have pain and some people have pain free fractures as well.

      Most commonly, your bone mineral density (BMD) test results are compared to the ideal or peak bone mineral density of a healthy 30-year-old adult, and you are given a T-score. A score of 0 means your BMD is equal to the norm for a healthy young adult. Differences between your BMD and that of the healthy young adult norm are measured in units called standard deviations (SDs). The more standard deviations below 0, indicated as negative numbers, the lower your BMD and the higher your risk of fracture.

      A score between +1 and −1 is considered normal or healthy. A score between −1 and −2.5 indicates that you have low bone mass or osteopenia, although not low enough to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. A score of −2.5 or lower indicates that you have osteoporosis. The greater the negative number, the more severe the osteoporosis.

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