Osteopenia is mild thinning of the bone mass. Osteopenia represents a low bone mass, but not to the more severe extent of osteoporosis. Osteopenia results when the formation of bone is not sufficient to offset normal bone less.
Diminished bone calcification as visualized on plain X-ray film (radiologic testing) is referred to as osteopenia, whether or not osteoporosis is present. Osteopenia can be diagnosed by bone density measurement using a bone density scan.
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Last Editorial Review: 4/15/2002