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Diagnosis and treatment of osteopenia


Osteopenia is a term to define bone density that is not normal but also not as low as osteoporosis. By definition from the World Health Organization osteopenia is defined by bone densitometry as a T score −1 to −2.5. There are many causes for osteopenia including calcium and vitamin D deficiency and inactivity. Genetics plays an important role in a person’s bone mineral density and often Caucasian women with a thin body habitus who are premenopausal are found to have osteopenia. Correction of calcium and vitamin D deficiency and walking 3 to 5 miles a week can often improve bone density in the hip and spine. There are a variety of pharmaceutical agents that have been recommended for the treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis including hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulator therapy, anti-resorptive therapy. In addition patients with osteoporosis who have failed anti-resorptive therapy can have a significant improvement in their bone density with anabolic therapy.

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Correspondence to Michael F. Holick.

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This work was supported in part by NIH grants 1UL1RR025771 and the UV Foundation.

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Karaguzel, G., Holick, M.F. Diagnosis and treatment of osteopenia. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 11, 237–251 (2010).

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  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vitamin D
  • Anti-resorptive
  • Calcium
  • Bone health