Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia- Difference In a Nutshell

How are Osteoporosis and Osteopenia different?


Bones are a vital part of our body. They support, protect and perform various other functions. Our body attains a definite shape only due to the bones. These bones get weaker due to aging or due to large consumption of certain foods. Osteoporosis and Osteopenia are the diseases or states associated with bones. This Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia post includes all the information regarding the difference between them. (1)

Why are Osteopenia and Osteoporosis caused?

Osteoporosis and Osteopenia are caused by the loss of calcium. Due to the loss of calcium the density of bone reduces. Also, it might result in enlargement of holes which are present in the bones. This results in Osteoporosis or Osteopenia.

There are certain risk factors which increase the chances. These risk factors include:-

  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Being Menopause
  • No physical activities in the young age
  • Genes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking etc.(2)

Are Osteopenia and Osteoporosis synonyms?

People often misheard these words. On the top of this, some people think these words are synonyms. But as we have stated above these two are different.

Is Osteopenia and Osteoporosis the same thing?

→. Absolutely no. Osteopenia and Osteoporosis are two distinct things. Their effects on bones are different. Also, their respective severity is also different. Don’t ever think that they are the similar things.

Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia – The differences

  • The effect

What does it mean to have Osteoporosis?

Our bone contains small honeycomb-like holes. These holes are tiny for a healthy person. Osteoporosis results in enlargement of these holes. This results in weakening of these bones.

Further it results in their fracture or breakage. The bones of hips, rips, spine and wrist are highly affected. In addition to this, the bone density is also reduced.(3)

What does it mean to have Osteopenia?

It is a state of bone in which the density of bones is reduced. It primarily occurs due to aging and less physical activities in the bone building age. In other words, the density of bones gets lesser than the average range.

Exercising particularly weight lifting facilitates the creation of new bone tissue. But, people with low physical activities tend to have low density. Thus, their bone density doesn’t increase appropriately and with age it diminishes

  • Bone Density Scores (BDS)

Doctor consultation for bone health

Bone Density Score determines the calcium level in the bones. BMD (Bone Mineral Density) test is performed for this. Generally, the bone density of a healthy person reaches its peak at around 30-35 years.

This number is thus used as the basis for determining the T-score of the patient. T-score is used for assessing the Bone Density Score.

In simple words, the T-score of a patient is compared to that of healthy individuals and BMD is obtained.

A score of -1.0 SD (standard deviation) to -2.5 usually points to Osteopenia. On the other hand, a patient with score below -2.5 SD is diagnosed with Osteoporosis.

Please Note:- Patients with BMD scores between -1.0 to -2.5 SD are at high risk of Osteoporosis.(4)

  • Fractures and severity

Osteoporosis is more severe than Osteopenia. Patients diagnosed with Osteoporosis have less bone density. Comparatively, the bone density of Osteopenia patients is higher.

The chances of bone getting fractured is higher in Osteoporosis. Bones of these patients can get fractured while performing daily routine activities (eg. walking, running etc.)

On the other hand, Osteopenia patients have a better bone density. Only and only severe blows can fracture their bones.

So to conclude, Osteopenia patients have better bone health. Also, the enlargement of the holes in Osteoporosis facilitates weakness.(5)

  • Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. Let us know the preventive measures. So that you can avoid Osteopenia and Osteoporosis.


The following factors can help you to avoid Osteopenia.

  • Exercise daily. Your exercise must include weight lifting. It will boost your bone density. Walking, jumping and running would also be beneficial.
  • Eat healthy food. Include calcium and vitamin d enrich food items in your diet. Recommended items are spinach, broccoli, dried beans etc.
  • Avoid these food items. Carbonated water, caffeine and sugar leach calcium from your bones. Avoiding them would help you to maintain your bone density.(6)


Preventive measures of Osteoporosis are the same as that of Osteopenia. Following them would surely help you to prevent Osteoporosis.


What is the best Treatment for Osteopenia?

Firstly, getting a BMD test done is the best option. Then as per your bone density your doctor might recommend you some medications.

Generally, doctors do not recommend medications to Osteopenia patients. Apart from this, following the preventive measures would help to maintain your bone mass.

What is the best treatment for Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis cannot be treated.  Even then, curbing the extent of Osteoporosis is possible. In order to do this you must follow the following steps.

  • Exercising.
  • Including calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
  • Avoiding consumption of sodas, coffee and sugar.(7)


Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia Infographic
Infographic for Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia.

Osteoporosis vs Osteopenia has brought certain facts in front of us.

  • Osteoporosis is more intense than Osteopenia.
  • The bone density of an Osteopenia patient is better than an Osteoporosis patient.
  • Osteoporosis is incurable.
  • Osteoporosis can’t be treated but you can curb it.
  • Your diet plays an important role in your overall health.

Finally, your diet and dedication can help you to sustain. Stay Safe!