Osteopenia occurs when the body reabsorbs old bone at a faster rate than it makes new bone; essentially, bone development is not sufficient to stop normal bone loss (osteoid lysis). The chronic condition is less severe than osteoporosis, and some people have no symptoms despite having lower bone density than normal. Osteopenia has no cure, but treatment can make it more manageable for those who do develop symptoms.
Osteopenia can develop as a result of poor dietary health and a lack of nutrients essential to bone development, such as vitamin C. Smoking, age-related hormonal changes, and particular diseases can also cause the condition, as can certain medications. Women are most at risk for developing the disorder, and it is most prevalent in people over the age of 60, likely due to the changes in bone density that occur as part as the aging process.
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